Jimmy Kimmel Cut a Bunch of Will Smith "Slap" Jokes From the 2023 Oscars
According to producers who worked on the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel cut a bunch of Will Smith jokes because they felt like Chris Rock should be the one to address the incident.
Two days after the 2023 Oscars, producers are starting to dish on background details around the live telecast, which was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Jimmy Kimmel Live executive producer Molly McNearney and Walt Disney TV alternative head Rob Mills recently sat down with Variety to give a behind the scenes look at what went into the 2023 Oscars. According to McNearney, there were "harder" jokes aimed at Will Smith and Chris Rock over last year's slapping incident that were cut.
McNearney told Variety:
“We didn’t want to make this year all about last year... I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it. There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that. That should be Chris Rock, not us...But we really liked the idea of making fun of the reaction to it last year... I think we’re all still in a bit of shock of how that went down and how after watching that violence everyone had to then sit through an acceptance speech.”
While the slap was referenced multiple times, in various sly ways, the names of Will Smith or Chris Rock were not mentioned once by Kimmel or any of the talent who hit the main stage. The most direct slap joke from Kimmel came in the opening monologue when he said:
“We know this is a special night for you. We want you to have fun...We want you to feel safe. And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.”
Since that infamous moment Smith has been banned from the Oscars for a decade. He's also publicly apologized to Rock. But it doesn't seem like Rock is in a forgiving mood. Earlier this month he released his new special, Selective Outrage, where he went after Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, harshly.