Chris Rock: Will Smith Oscars Slap Was Over "Nicest Joke I Ever Told"

Earlier this week, we took a look at what Chris Rock had to say about Will Smith slapping him on stage during this year's live Oscars broadcast on ABC over a joke Rock made about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during a set in Arizona. Well, Rock has some more to add about the incident, and he wasn't alone, joined this time by fellow comedian & European tourmate Dave Chappelle during a show in Liverpool, England. Though making it clear that he was back to work the following day, Rock asked the audience, "Did that s**t hurt?" before answering his own question with, "Goddam right… the motherf***er hit me over a bulls**t joke, the nicest joke I ever told." Chappelle (who was attacked on stage in Los Angeles during a set in May) thought that Smith made a "very strange choice" when he decided to take to the stage. Chappelle also insinuated that the Smith who assaulted Rock was closer to the real Will Smith than the one who's been "an impression of a perfect man for 30 years." Especially considering that Rock wasn't doing anything different at the Oscars that he's been doing as a comedian for decades. "I just hope he doesn't put that mask back on," Chappelle added.

chris rock
CHRIS ROCK/WILL SMITH (Image: Screencap) Chris Rock

"I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened at that moment. And I'm not going to try to unpack all of that right now. But I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave at that moment," Smith explains at one point in a video he released at the end of July, looking to address some of the questions that were out there about the incident. "There's no part of me that thinks that's the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults." Here's a look at some highlights, followed by a look at Smith's full video:

"I've reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

"I want to apologize to Chris's mother. I saw an interview that Chris's mother did, and, you know, that was one of the things about that moment I just didn't realize, and, you know, I wasn't thinking, but how many people got hurt at that moment. So I want to apologize to Chris's mother. I want to apologize to Chris's family. Specifically Tony Rock. You know, we had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man. And this is probably irreparable."

"I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened at that moment. And I'm not going to try to unpack all of that right now. But I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave at that moment. There's no part of me that thinks that's the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults."

"I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us. To all my fellow nominees, you know, this is a community. It's like I won because you voted for me. And it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment. I can still see Questlove's eyes. You know, it happened on Questlove's award. And, you know, it's like, I'm sorry really isn't sufficient."

"So there's two things. One, disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down. So, it hurts, it hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn't live up to people's image and impression of me. And the work I'm trying to do is I am deeply remorseful, and I'm trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself. Right? I'm human. And I made a mistake, and I'm trying not to think of myself as a piece of s***."

"So I would say to those people, I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking. But I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we'll be able to be friends again."

Now here's a look at Smith's full video message, as well as his answers to a number of questions that have been asked surrounding the incident:

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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