Netflix has a joke on Will Smith Chris Rock: Selective outrage after Rock dropped it during his live show.
During a series of jokes about Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith towards the end of Rock’s March 4 show — the streamer’s first-ever live, global streaming event — the comedian botched his own joke when he recalled a conversation he allegedly had with the Smiths about his performance at the 2016 Oscars.
“Years ago his wife told me to quit the Oscars, I couldn’t present because her husband wasn’t nominated for Emancipation, the biggest piece of shit ever!” Rock told the crowd in Baltimore before quickly acknowledging his mistake. “No not EmancipationI ruined the joke.
The joke was meant to refer to Smith’s 2015 sports drama Concussionwhich was based on Jeanne Marie Laskas’ 2009 NFL and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) exposé “Game Brain,” published by GK. For Netflix subscribers who watched the replay version currently streaming, this portion of the live special has been omitted.
After the misstep, Rock moved on and delivered the joke accurately. “She started this shit. She told me, a damn grown man, to quit his job because ‘My husband wasn’t nominated for Concussion,'” he said.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Netflix for comment.
The case Rock mentioned came the same year Pinkett Smith boycotted the ceremony amid the #OscarsSoWhite movement, which focused on the Film Academy’s history of racial exclusion on its nominees and winners lists.
Smith took to the 2022 Oscars podium last March and slammed Rock after making an unwritten joke about Pinkett Smith’s bald haircut, which she wore due to alopecia, an immune-related condition. The joke followed one Rock had made during his monologue while hosting the 2016 show, in which he said, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I was not invited.”
Rock also made a separate joke about Pinkett Smith and Concussion. “[You] said, “It’s not fair that Will was so good [in Concussion] and wasn’t nominated!’” he said. “You’re right! It’s also not fair that Will got 20 million dollars Wild Wild West! OK?”
In THR’s assessment of Selective outrage, chief TV reviewer Daniel Fienberg wrote: “Netflix was trying to build a live stunt out of Rock by doing stand-up material that he’s been doing for 10 months on the road, and the only thing that would tell you the special was live was – then left viewers waiting 61 minutes for the inevitable Will Smith material – Rock fuck up the joke. A joke he’s probably made dozens of times across the country.”
The hour-long comedy special, highly anticipated due to the comedian’s reaction to Smith punching him, placed seventh on Netflix’s US top 10, but failed to make it into the streamer’s top global rankings.