Will Smith’s (apparently happy, and totally voluntary) transition from planetary superstar to mid-tier social media personality has been a strange thing to watch over the last few years, as Smith seemingly threw himself, with the same gusto he once applied to being one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, into constructing Facebook Watch videos about hanging out around his house. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with any of that; Will Smith has probably given the world more than his fair share of looking calm in the face of large cinematic explosions. It’s just a little weird—as is the news that Smith’s next career stop will be as a genial streaming impresario, with Netflix announcing that Smith will be hosting a new variety comedy special for the company, to launch later this year.
Details on the special are being kept extremely vague at this point—we’re being promised “surprise celebrity guests, noteworthy conversation, fresh comedic sketches, huge musical performances, and more,” but no actual, say, names. That being said, it’s not like Smith doesn’t have one of the most well-stocked Rolodexes in all of Hollywood, given that he’s, well…Will Smith. It’s also in line with the more curatorial take Smith has taken with many of his projects in recent years; when he hopped aboard the Quibi train back in 2020, it wasn’t as an actor, but as the host and producer for This Joka, a series of stand-up showcases focused on rising talent in the comedy world. (Also, it was co-produced by driving range company Topgolf, which continues to be extremely strange to us.) This Joka never got off the ground on account of *gestures expressively to a pile of rubble with “Roku Originals!” spray-painted over it*, but the basic vibe of Smith being a guy who says “Hey, look at this!” instead of foregrounding himself, seems to be a running theme with his career in its current form.