The day after Will Smith’s Oscar slap, various celebrities have weighed in on the matter. Some berated Smith for his on-air actions, while others criticized Chris Rock, the recipient of the punch in the face, for the joke he made about Jada Pinkett Smith. One of the latest stars to enter the discussion is actor and comedian Ricky Gervais, who has hosted his fair share of award shows in the past. The star was specifically candid about Rock’s joke and offered her thoughts on Smith’s state of mind during the altercation.
Ricky Gervais has never been one to mince words, as those who’ve seen his stand-up shows and award-winning monologues probably know. Given his status as an edgy comedian and five-time Golden Globes host, it was only a matter of time before he was asked about the Will Smith incident. Giving his two cents, Gervais said he didn’t consider Chris Rock’s joke an “insult” and didn’t believe the comedian was trying to humiliate Jada Pinkett Smith:
Chris Rock appeared at the Oscars to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. During his set, he joked that he was looking forward to seeing Jada Pinkett Smith in the G.I. Jane suite, after which Will Smith came on stage and slapped the face. During his interview on the Sam Harris’ Give sense podcast, Ricky Gervais reiterated his belief that the joke was harmless while noting that Smith initially laughed at the pun:
The co-creator of Office found himself on both sides of this kind of situation. At his previous Golden Globes gigs, he made a number of angry jokes that didn’t sit well with some. When coping with the backlash in 2016, the comedian explained that he was “shocked” that people thought what he said was “shocking”. Although there was a joke he later regrettedthe star was adamant about not apologizing for his controversial puns. Conversely, he was also mocked at the Globes and at one point jokingly said he would heckle the hosts when one-liners aimed at him.
Ricky Gervais isn’t the only former awards show host to speak out on Will Smith’s situation as a comedian and nine-time Oscars host Billy Crystal weighed in on the slap. The star said he thought Chris Rock had behaved well under the circumstances, although Crystal thought “it wasn’t a good joke”. The 74-year-old Hollywood vet also recalled he was also concerned about Smith’s ‘mental state’ when the slap took place.
It’s likely the stars will continue to weigh in on the Oscars slap as time goes on. Whether they will agree with celebrities like Ricky Gervais or have a different point of view remains to be seen.