Social Navigation

Chris Rock stars as Will Smith, but he’s saving his best lines for Saturday’s Netflix special


The smack heard around the world is about to get its first full shot of Chris Rock, who will finally talk about his infamous Oscars incident with Will Smith.

“Chris Rock: Selective Outrage” will stream live on Netflix at 10 p.m. ET this Saturday from the Hippodrome in Baltimore.

While the media discussed ad nauseam in the Oscar attack, and Will Smith tried to explain himself in different ways, Rock kept his opinions mostly to himself. He shared brief quips during his performance, but did not elaborate on the moment.

He’s reportedly turned down overtures to host the Academy Awards and appeared in a Super Bowl commercial with Smith, and has stated that he’s saving his thoughts on what happened for one big reveal.

So far, he’s made a few pieces that may or may not appear in the special.

During an arena show in Charleston, South Carolina in January on a bill with Dave Chappelle, he performed one of his longest running acts.

“The thing people want to know…was it hurt? Yeah, hell it hurt. He played Muhammad Ali! I played Pookie (in ‘New Jack City’). Even in animated films I’m a zebra, he’s a shark. A source joked to the newspaper. WSJ: “I was hit hard, and I heard ‘Summer’ ringing in my ears.

On the same show, Rock also talked about the size difference between him and Smith.

“Will Smith is a big guy,” said Rock. “Will Smith is shirtless in his movies. If you see me in a movie doing open-heart surgery, I’ll wear a jacket.”

The New York Post reported that Rock tried another prank on a different show.

“I’ve rooted for Will Smith my whole life,” he recently told the audience at a stage show. But Rock said he hates watching Smith’s latest movie.

“The other day, I watched the movie Emancipation so I could watch him get whipped.”

According to a Deadline report, Rock previously joked about the size difference at London’s O2 Arena with Dave Chappelle, “He played on me! I can’t even play Floyd Mayweather.” Ali was a heavyweight, and Mayweather a light middleweight.

Rock also called Smith “Suge Smith”, a reference to mega-rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Rock rejected Smith’s attempts to communicate. “I reached out to Chris and the message that came back was he’s not ready to talk, and when he’s ready, he’ll reach out,” Smith said in a video that was widely shared on social media.

At the O2 Arena, Rock responded. He said, “F–k your video hostage.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.