A year after the actor slapped him in front of a worldwide TV audience for the Oscars, Chris Rock eventually retaliated against him on Saturday in a brutal stand-up routine.
When the Hollywood star reacted to a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, the comic came out swinging, accusing the actor of “selective outrage” and claiming Smith lashed out at a shorter man because he was pissed off his wife had an affair.
“Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock told an audience in a show that was streamed live on Netflix.
“Everybody that really knows, knows I had nothing to do with that. I didn’t have any entanglements,” he said, referring to Pinkett Smith’s acknowledged marital infidelity.
Rock made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s tightly cropped head while presenting an Oscar in Hollywood in March.
The “Men in Black” actor got up on stage and gave the comedian a hard slap across the face before going back to his place and cursing at the host.
Smith received his Oscar for best actor a short while afterward for his performance in “King Richard.”
He subsequently expressed regret to Rock, but a decade-long Oscars ban followed.
Rock received praise for his cool reaction that evening and has remained largely silent on the subject ever since.
But he let loose on the broadcast from Baltimore on Saturday night.
“People ask ‘Did it hurt?’. It still hurts,” he said.
“Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie. You think I auditioned for that?”
The comedian claimed that following an episode of his wife’s podcast in which the pair discussed her affair and how it affected him, Smith had received widespread jeers.
“Why would you do that?” he asked. Many people have been cheated on, but the Hollywood power couple are the only ones who discussed it in public that way, he said.
“Everybody in the world called him a bitch. They called his wife a predator. Everybody called him a bitch,” he said, noting that he had tried to offer condolences after news of the affair became public.
Rock said the animosity from Pinkett Smith stemmed from a few years earlier when she had called on him to boycott the Oscars because her husband had been overlooked for his 2015 movie “Concussion.”
“She said… a grown ass man should quit his job because her husband didn’t get nominated for ‘Concussion.’ Then (Smith) gives me a concussion,” he quipped.
“What the fuck? So did I do some jokes about it? Who gives a fuck? That’s how it is; she starts it, I finish it. Nobody was picking on her.”
Rock, who at times appeared genuinely angry, said before last year, he had always loved Smith, first as a rapper, and then as an actor.
“He’d made some great movies. I’ve rooted for Will Smith my whole life,” but now, he said, he was rooting for the slave master who beats Smith’s character in his latest movie, “Emancipation.”
This year’s Oscars will be held on March 12.