Chris Rock’s 2016 Jada Pinkett Smith joke resurfaces as comedian explains how feud ‘started’
A joke Chris Rock made about Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars in 2016 has resurfaced after his latest Netflix special.
The comedian hosted a live comedy special for the streaming service, titled Selective Outrage, on Saturday (4 March), during which he addressed Will Smith slapping him at the Oscars in March 2022.
He steered the subject towards Smith’s wife, the Matrix Reloaded and Girl’s Trip actor Jada Pinkett Smith, who he claims “started” their feud back in 2016.
According to Rock, Pinkett Smith tried to get him to step down from hosting that year’s Oscars ceremony as her husband failed to secure a Best Actor nomination for the film Concussion.
Both Pinkett Smith and Smith boycotted the ceremony that year, alongside many of their Hollywood peers, following the lack of diversity in the nominations list, which led to the creation of the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
“Years ago, his wife said I should quit the Oscars. I shouldn’t host ‘cause her man didn’t get nominated for Concussion,” he said in the special, adding: “She said I should quit ‘cause Will didn’t get nominated.”
Rock ignored Pinkett Smith’s request and, while presenting the Oscars, made a quip about her.
Addressing her boycott of the ceremony, he said; “Jada [Pinkett Smith] boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
He also said: “It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20m for Wild Wild West.”
At the time, it wasn’t known that Pinkett Smith has asked Rock to step down as host. The Independent has contacted Pinkett Smith for comment.
Six years later, while presenting an award at the Oscars, Rock made another joke about Pinkett Smith, this time about her appearance, which prompted her husband to hit the comedian.
“Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth,” he bellowed after returning to his seat. Later in the ceremony, Smith was named Best Actor for his role in King Richard, and delivered a tearful speech, but found himself ejected from the Academy for 10 years as a result of the slap.
Elsewhere during Rock’s stand-up special, the comedian lambasted Meghan Markle’s claims that she experienced “racism” during her time at Buckingham Palace.
He also directly addressed Smith’s slap, saying he “took that hit” like former professional boxer Manny Paquiao.
Fans noticed, however, that Rock made a glaring mistake about Smith when he was roasting the actor.