MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — By now the whole world has heard about the biggest story from Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony: actor Will Smith smacking comedian Chris Rock in the face.
The slap happened after Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith and her shaved head. In reaction to the joke, Will Smith went onstage and slapped Rock in the face.
Veteran comedians, like Steve Brown, tell News 19 that it was a serious joke from Chris Rock and it had the potential to have a strong reaction from social media, but he would never have imagined Will Smith would react like that in front of the entire world.
Brown says that the reaction from Will Smith on the Oscars stage was Chris Rock feeling the brunt of other issues with the Smiths.
“Chris Rock was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Brown, referring to recent issues the couple has been having in their marriage over the past year.
Rock joked that Pinkett-Smith’s current lack of hair that he would see her in “G.I. Jane 2.” Will Smith’s reaction disappointed nearly the entire comedic world. Brown believes his reaction was deeper than just a joke because at first Smith appeared to enjoy the line.
“That slap that Chris Rock took, that slap was for everybody – social media, all of everybody who’s been going in on him because he has had enough,” Brown explained. “Now again, it wasn’t about the joke because it really wasn’t a joke. it was a reference. He made reference to a movie about her haircut.”
Brown knows how an audience can react to jokes. In 2018, he was attacked after a joke exchange with someone in the audience. In that incident the frustrated fan hurt 6 people – including brown.
“After it all settled down, months after that I was torn up mentally,” Brown recalled.
Huntsville comedian Jeff Giant says that the violent reaction by Smith broke all rules in the challenging world of Black comedians.
“We took 10 steps back,” said Brown. “You have two wealthy Black men that turn around here and one man act just like a straight up – I don’t even want to say it. I mean, he was awful. I mean it was just awful. The difference is what Will did out in public in front of everyone was way uncalled for.”
Smith has since apologized for his actions. Chris Rock has shows in Boston starting on Wednesday night and folks are wondering if he will respond. Local comedians say that they are sure that he will because the stage is what they live for.