Chris Rock brilliantly rips into Will Smith and Meghan Markle
For Chris Rock, Saturday night felt like his own “Independence Day.”
During his history live Netflix special, “Selective Atrocity,” the comedian finally let it be known about the infamous 2022 Oscars to a sure-to-be at-home audience that Will Smith slapped him on stage.
A brilliant Rock pushed Smith harder than the movie star did in his hit 1996 action movie Alien — as well as Rock himself at the Academy Awards.
“Everybody calls that man ab-h,” Rock, 58 and in peak form, said of the media’s reaction to Smith’s well-reported marital problems in the lead-up to the Oscars. “And who did he kill? I! A [N-word] He knows he can beat. That’s some bh-ass st.”
He joked about the physical pain: “It still hurts! ‘Summertime’ rang in my ear!”
However – and this was a through-line of Rock’s material all night – he refused to acknowledge our 2023 culture of perpetual discrimination.
“Right now we live in a world where the emergency room is full of parents with paper cuts,” she said.
“You’ll never see me cry on Oprah or Gayle. You’ll never see it. Never going to. ‘I couldn’t believe it! And I loved ‘Men in Black!'” , Rock scoffed. “No! F–k that s–t. I took that hit like Pacquiao!”
While The Rock devoted its final ten minutes to the Smith scandal, the first hour brilliantly broached topics such as influential wakes and Meghan Markle.
The comic politely expressed Prince Harry’s wife’s never-ending anger at the alleged racist tendencies of the British royal family.
“It’s the royal family!” he said “You didn’t Google these mothers? What is she talking about ‘not knowing him’?!”
He added: “It’s like marrying into the Budweiser family and ‘they drink too much’.”
And as for what Markle’s first child, Archie, would look like for the accusations of inquiring about a particular member of the royal family: “It’s not racist,” Rock insisted. “Because even black people want to know how brown the baby will be!”
Some of rock’s most subversive — and witty — material took aim at what he dubbed “selective rage,” or society’s tendency to pick and choose who to reject for doing nearly the same thing.
“A person does something, it is rejected. Another person does exactly the same thing, nothing,” he said. They are “the kind of people who play Michael Jackson songs but R. Kelly gets angry because they don’t play. Same crime – one of them just got better songs.
Rock is also fed up with corporate brands that take vacuous stances on key issues to score awareness points. He said he saw a sign at Lululemon, an athleisure clothing store, condemning racism and hate.
“Who gives an af-k?” he said “You’re just selling yoga pants!”
But this was the Smith segment everyone was waiting for, and you could feel Rock’s already-nuclear energy redoubled as he insisted that the “King Richard” star’s anger was more than anything the comic had ever done. Was totally unrelated to anything.
“Everybody knows I had nothing to do with him,” she said, adding that Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s famous 2015 affair with her son Jaden’s rapper friend August Alsina was at the root of Smith’s anger toward her.
“For those who don’t know – everyone knows! – his wife was the king of his son’s friend, right?” he said “Now, I wouldn’t normally talk about it, but for some reason [N-word] Put him on the Internet! I didn’t know why two talented people would do something that would demean the King!”
The stunning special was a huge win for the uber-talented Rock, airing nearly a year after the slap and a week before the 2023 Oscars air. In this Hollywood competition, he is the undisputed winner.
And it was also a painful reminder that next week’s awards show will give us three hours of youth and tedium, when this truth-telling comedian delivers 60 thrilling minutes of fearlessness and fire.