If comedian Chris Rock wants people to know one thing about “the slap heard around the world,” it’s that he can take a blow just like Manny Pacquiao.
Rock, 58, finally hit back at Will Smith during his livestreamed Netflix standup special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage on Saturday night, a year after the infamous Oscars slap.
The comedian told the crowd at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore that he was going to do his best to perform standup “without offending nobody.”
“I’m going to try my best, because you never know who might get triggered,” he joked. “People always say words hurt. Anybody who says words hurt has never been punched in the face.”
During last year’s Oscars ceremony in March, Rock was slapped by Smith after he made a G.I. Jane joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from the skin condition alopecia. Smith shouted for Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f–-ing mouth!”
Smith later apologized for slapping Rock. The actor was banned from the Academy Awards for 10 years.
On Saturday, Rock, who has mostly avoided commenting on the Oscars slap, said the whole world watched as he “took that hit like Pacquiao.”
“You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith,” Rock said, referencing former record executive Suge Knight, who pleaded no contest to armed robbery and assault with a firearm in 1995. “It still hurts. I got Summertime ringing in my ears.” (The song Summertime was released by Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff in 1991.)
“But I’m not a victim, baby,” he said. “You’ll never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying.”
In the profanity-laden segment, Rock said he’d always admired Smith before being slapped. He joked that he now watches Smith-led movies like Emancipation, which sees Smith play an individual self-emancipated from slavery, “just to see him get whupped.”
He added that it was unfair for Smith to target him, given their stark size difference.
“We are not the same size. This guy does movies with his shirt off,” Rock said, earning a round of laughter from the audience. “You will never see me do a movie with my shirt off. If I’m in a movie getting open-heart surgery, I got on a sweater.”
Rock also answered the commonly asked question as to why he did not do anything back to Smith — or press any charges — on the night of the Oscars slap. His answer was simple: “Because I got parents.”
“You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people,” he said.
Meghan Markle and the royal racism row
Rock’s standup special — Netflix’s first foray into livestreaming — saw the comedian talk about myriad trending topics, including yoga pants, the Kardashians, abortion rights and the U.S. Capitol riot.
One such Selective Outrage segment was at the expense of Meghan Markle and the Royal Family.
Rock claimed that everyone nowadays, including Markle, is “trying to be the victim,” even when they are not. The comedian referenced Markle’s 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey in which she claimed certain unnamed members of the Royal Family had “concerns and conversations about how dark” her son Archie’s skin would be.
Though he acknowledged the British monarchy’s history of colonialism and called them “the original racists,” Rock joked that Markle’s claims about the royals were “just some in-law s—t.”
Rock said Markle “seems like a nice lady, just complaining.”
“Black girl trying to be accepted by her white in-laws,” Rock said. “Oh, it’s hard. It’s so hard, it’s very hard — but it ain’t as hard as a white girl trying to be accepted by her Black in-laws.”
“If you Black, and you want to be accepted by your white in-laws, then you need to marry a Kardashian,” he joked. “Because they accept everybody. Kris Jenner is like the Statue of Liberty.”
Selective Outrage is Rock’s second special for Netflix, following 2018’s Tamborine. The standup performances are part of a US$40-million deal Rock signed with the streaming giant in 2016.