Chris Rock is ready to talk about Will Smith’s infamous Oscars slap

It has been almost a year since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards.

The comic has been agonisingly tight-lipped following the massive controversy, refusing to press legal charges and reportedly turning down an offer from Oprah for a tell-all interview.

Now, Rock is finally ready to publicly address the slap heard all around the world.

The comic will talk about the controversy in his upcoming Netflix stand-up special on Sunday, March 5, at 2pm (AEDT).

The special, titled Selective Outrage, will stream live from Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre – one week before this year’s Academy Awards.

will smith chris rock

The slap shocked the world. Photo: AAP/TND

Rock has reportedly been workshopping material about the incident over recent months, testing jokes with audiences in Charleston and Baltimore.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Rock had referenced his and Smith’s respective roles in Ali and New Jack City.

“The thing people want to know … did it hurt? Hell yeah, it hurt. He played Muhammad Ali! I played Pookie!” Rock reportedly told the audience.

In another punchline, Rock joked about Smith’s muscular physique.

“Will Smith is a big dude. I am not,” Rock said.

“Will Smith is shirtless in his movies. If you see me in a movie getting open heart surgery, I’m gonna have a sweater on.”

A good whipping cheered

The Sun reported that Rock even poked fun at one of Smith’s rap tracks, joking that he “got hit so hard I heard Summertime ringing in my ears”.

And in perhaps his most controversial line, Rock took a jab at Smith’s most recent role in Apple TV drama Emancipation, where he played a runaway slave.

“I rooted for Will Smith my whole life,” he said. “The other day, I watched Emancipation just so I could watch him getting whipped.”

The special’s title is apparently a nod to Smith’s serious lapse in judgement.

“Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock said, in Baltimore in February.

“People who are in the know, know that s— had nothing to do with me.”

Rock is breaking his silence, and so is Smith, who recently made his first in-person speech since the 2022 Oscars.

Smith took to the stage at the African American Film Critics Association Awards on March 1 to talk about his role in Emancipation, thanking Apple for sticking with him throughout the project.

“I want to thank Apple, because the budget was one thing. And then the budget was another thing. And then the budget was another thing. And Apple never flinched,” Smith said.

“It was the first time I had heard from a studio that the story was more important than how much it costs to get it done … They make iPhones. They can do it.”

Oscars ban stands

Both Smith and Emancipation were snubbed from this year’s Academy Awards.

But even if he was nominated, he wouldn’t be able to attend. The shocking slap last March earned Smith a 10-year suspension from the awards ceremony.

In light of last year’s events, the Academy Awards have implemented a “crisis team”, which has run through “many scenarios” in hopes that they will be “prepared for anything” come March 12.

“Because of last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars,” Academy chief executive Bill Kramer told Time magazine.

“We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place.”

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