In case you missed the news, Netflix, the giant of streaming status and on-demand content, broadcast a special stand-up comedy live from Baltimore on the evening of Saturday 4 March, in a truly atypical format for its platform.
Titled ‘Chris Rock: Selective Outrage’, the show saw the comedian tackle a wide range of topics in the first 50 minutes of the special, including addiction, abortion, racism in America, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, the Kardashian family and ” wokeness”. Then he dedicated the last 10 minutes to the hottest topic, the embarrassing episode that happened at the Oscars last year.
In fact, no one has forgotten when Will Smith took the stage at the Dolby Theater and smacked the piss out of host Chris Rock in the middle of the ceremony, complete with a slap (and no, we don’t mean a moral one.)
While Smith took months to release a video apology for his act, Rock has remained relatively silent on the incident, declining interviews – and an offer to return as host of this year’s Oscars -. He rather preferred to keep his answers for his stand up show.
In addition to being the first show broadcast live by the streamer, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, was meant to represent an adequate space to give a comprehensive answer regarding the slap seen around the world.
“You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Shug Smith,” Rock said. “It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears. But I’m not a victim, baby. You’ll never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying … I took that hit like Pacquiao.”
Rock suggested Smith’s response to his Oscars joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was more about their relationship than him. The intent was to accuse the actor of practicing “selective outrage” and addressed their viral “entanglements” Red Table Talk interview where Jada Pinkett Smith spoke with her husband about her affair with the singer August Alsina.
“I love Will Smith, my whole life,” Rock said. “I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life … now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whooped.”
Smith plays an enslaved man in the period drama, “Emancipation.”
“‘How come you didn’t do nothing back that night?’” Rock said people have asked him. “Because I got parents. You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of White people.”
In terms of getting people to watch something en masse, airing a Chris Rock stand-up comedy special live a week before the Academy Awards, as if to mark the anniversary of Will Smith’s slapping, was a very bold move by Netflix, which has in a certain sense also challenged itself by proposing a television mode that the streamer himself is guilty of having upset for years: that of live TV, complete with pre-show and post-show.
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