The only bright spot for Will Smith from Chris Rock’s Netflix special, Selective Outrage, is that he knows at least one person watched “Emancipation”.
I pulled up Netflix Saturday night without any idea of what I was going to watch, which is a typical Saturday night for me now that I’m old and single. The first thing to pop up was Chris Rock’s live special, “Selective Outrage.” If I heard about this special coming up beforehand, I forgot. Since I didn’t have anything specific in mind to watch (more Community, IT Crowd, The Good Place?), I decided to check out Rock’s special which was coming live from Baltimore. I pulled it up during the pre-show.
The comedians during the pre-show were praising Rock and talking about how he was on fire and bringing his A-game, which to me was like when Trump announced his campaign for the 2024 presidential election, and Sean Hannity and fellow goons were talking about how he was on fire and unstoppable, even though they weren’t actually listening to the speech.
Did Chris Rock bring his A-game? Now take it from a white guy but one who watches a lot of standups and has seen several of Rock’s previous specials, but no. He was not on fire and he didn’t bring his A-game…until the last ten minutes.
Don’t get me wrong. It was good, not great. But everybody’s talking about the last ten minutes.
Rock joked about getting his own daughter kicked out of school, dating women in their 40s and 50s, Meghan Markle’s shock that the royal family is racist, and how black people will look behind a baby’s ears to see what shade of black they’ll be when they’re older.
The ear thing was news to me, but again, I’m white. White people don’t have to look behind a baby’s ears to see what shade of white they’ll be because we know that baby’s gonna be white and won’t be judged by the tone of its whiteness. I was aware of black people being treated differently based on their skin tone, as those with darker skin will deal with more racism, but the ear-check was an education for me.
Another education for me was Lululemon which I had never heard of, but I know about yoga pants. My friends and I have long conversations about yoga pants, and we don’t wear yoga pants.
Some of his observations were funny and honest like if Beyonce wasn’t famous and worked at Burger King, she could still land a millionaire like Jay-Z because of how beautiful she is. But if Jay-Z wasn’t rich and famous, he’d never land a woman like Beyonce (which Jay-Z would probably agree with). And then Rock said, “Last thing I need is another mad rapper,” which was a reference to being slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars a year ago. It was a running joke as he said it again after a Snoop Dog joke.
I was OK with Rock joking that parents should be allowed to kill their children until they’re four because it’s a joke and I had a four-year-old (they’re tiny terrorists), but I didn’t like him saying that every abortion is killing a baby because it feeds into the anti-science fundamentalist zealotry talking point used by Republicans who are banning abortions. But he was right when he said to women, “If you have to pay for your own abortion, you should have an abortion.”
And then he got to the slap.
Rock has said little over the past year regarding the slap. He’s referenced it here and there in his standups that weren’t big specials on a streaming network. But he’s mostly stayed silent. He’s been applauded for being mature and dignified over the entire thing. Not anymore. On Saturday night, Rock slapped back and I don’t think Will Smith will ever recover.
Rock said he loved Will Smith and used to cheer for him but now, he said, “I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whooped.”
I don’t really care about celebrity feuds or take sides. I’m still on the fence about Van Halen versus David Lee Roth. I honestly don’t know for sure where this one stems from. From what I understand, Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith had an affair. Rock’s theory is that Smith took his anger about the affair out on him. Rock said, “She hurt him way more than he hurt me.”
If you remember, and you should, Rock hosted last year’s Oscars and told a joke about Jada’s baldness which made Will Smith walk onto the stage and slap Chris Rock. Rock said the slap still hurts and that he has “Summertime” ringing in his ears a year later. I got that joke because “Summertime” came out when I was still young and listening to new music.
Rock said there are four ways people can get attention in our culture: Showing your ass, being infamous, being excellent, or playing the victim. Rock said he’s not a victim and you won’t see him on Oprah or Gayle (which is something else I had to look up. Gayle King, right?). But, Rock did play the victim somewhat by claiming Smith took his frustrations out on him after so many other people had called him a “bitch.” But if you want to find a room full of victims, go to CPAC.
CPAC, which was also in Maryland over the weekend, but not Baltimore, is the annual convention of racist Republican assholes so quite naturally, its keynote speaker was Donald Trump. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen said the room for Trump’s speech was only at 40 percent capacity, and this entire convention was a Trump event. Cohen is a professional liar but a reporter for Vanity Fair who’s been covering CPAC for the past decade said he’s “never seen it more dead.”
Trump read a boring speech off a teleprompter for over 90 minutes in which he tapped into old grievances and told the white crowd exactly what they want to hear, that they’re the victims. He told them, “I am your retribution.”
Retribution for what? Losing an election? Failing at a coup? Liberals making you fat? No, that was McDonalds.
Trump, who plays the victim card daily, told the white audience that they’re victims, which is what they want to hear. White conservatives claim they’re the most persecuted group in world history never mind that throughout most of history, white people were the persecutors. Colonization was started by white people and going back to Rock’s jokes about Meghan Markle when it comes to racism, the royal family is the Sugarhill Gang, the “O.G. of racism.”
“Selective Outrage” could be the slogan for the Trump 2024 presidential campaign.
I’ll give Chris Rock’s special a B while Trump’s deserves an F. At least Rock brought new material. Trump, who told over 30 lies during his speech, played his greatest hits. We’ll keep hearing those “hits” of grievances and lies over the next two years. What we probably won’t be seeing is a lot of new Will Smith movies.
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