This weekend, Netflix aired it’s first live-streamed comedy special, Chris Rock’s Selective Outrage, and as everyone assumed, the comedian used a good chunk of it to talk about getting slapped by Will Smith onstage at the 2022 Oscars. But, being a showman, Rock actually spent most of the special dancing around the thing people actually wanted to hear about—for the majority of the special, he avoided directly mentioning the slap, choosing instead to make winky jokes about how he doesn’t want to make fun of Snoop Dogg (for doing so many commercials) because, “the last thing I need is another mad rapper.”
Rock also joked about what the Los Angeles Times referred to as “low-hanging comic fruit,” specifically O.J. Simpson, Meghan Markle (he joked about the royal family being the original racists, but still came around to that being her fault), and the Kardashians. He also noted that he’s so pro-abortion that he’s paid for more abortions than any woman in the room. General sort of Chris Rock material, in other words.
But at the end of the show, Rock did finally go on a tear about Will Smith slapping him, but he made it clear that any problems he has are not with Will Smith; they’re with Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock said that the slap “still hurts” (adding “I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears”), but that he’s not “a victim” and that he’ll never cry to “Oprah or Gayle.” Rock argued that he “took that hit like Pacquiao,” explaining that Smith “does movies with his shirt off” while he does “a movie getting open heart surgery,” joking that even in animation Smith plays a bigger guy than Rock ever will (“I’m a zebra, he’s a shark.”).
Ultimately, Rock landed on the title line of his special by saying that it’s Smith who “practices selective outrage,” explaining that he should actually be mad at Jada Pinkett Smith for cheating on him. “She hurt him way more than he hurt me,” Rock argued. “Everybody in the world called him a bitch… They called his wife a predator. And who does he hit? Me.”
Rock then revealed that he’s had a grudge of sorts against Pinkett Smith for years, since she called him and told him not to host the Oscars in 2016 after Smith got snubbed for Concussion (which Rock called “the biggest piece of shit ever”):
So I did some jokes about him. That’s how it is. She starts it, I finish it. OK? That’s what happened. Nobody’s picking on this bitch. She started this shit. Nobody was picking on her. She said me, a grown-ass man, should quit his job because her husband didn’t get nominated. And then [he] gives me a concussion. What the fuck, man?
Rock then explained why he didn’t do anything back to Smith that night at the Oscars: “Cause I got parents. Because I was raised, OK? You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”
As for how the special is being received, a lot of the worst people on social media (and probably the world in general) loved it, welcoming the opportunity to talk about how women and “wokeness” are stupid, but there are some compelling counterpoints going around: