Slappy Oscars

If you told me before yesterday that Will Smith was going to slap Chris Rock, I would have been worried for Chris Rock. If you look at the two guys, you would be forgiven for thinking, “Oh, my god. Will Smith is going to kill Chris Rock.” Will Smith has been cast as a boxer, a superhero, an alien slayer, a zombie killer, a Bad Boy, and a defender from robot insurrections. Chris Rock’s most popular role is probably a zebra.

Fortunately, Smith didn’t hurt Rock much. Did Rock’s feet even move? Sure, Will Smith punches pretty weakly for a guy who once played Muhammad Ali in a movie, but at least he hits harder than Ted Cruz after someone mocks his wife’s appearance.

Will Smith will never be governor of Texas because Texas doesn’t vote for men who defend their wives.

Of course, I did not watch the Oscars. I think I may have watched it a few times with my mom when I was a kid when there were only three channels and nobody except Al Gore had heard of the internet yet. I do root for actors and movies to win these awards but I don’t watch them. I’ll occasionally watch a monologue or acceptance speech when I hear something interesting about them. That’s what happened last night.

I went out last night and watched some basketball while thinking about my next cartoon. I had a couple of things set up in my head, but when I got home and pulled up Facebook, the first story I saw was that Will Smith had won an Oscar for best actor…after punching Chris Rock. That was a confusing headline. So, I went after the story, saw the clip, and knew I had to change course for my next cartoon because at that point, it was the only story on the internet. People in Ukraine are probably talking about it. Then I went to bed.

Unless I’m your only source for information, you’re already aware of the Oscar slap. But in case you’re not, what happened was: Chris Rock told a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife. He made a crack at her hair or lack of it. She suffers from alopecia, a condition that leads to hair loss. This prompted Will Smith, who seemed to laugh at the joke initially, to get out of his seat, walk up the stage to Rock, and slap the baloney out of him. He went back to his seat and screamed at Rock to leave his wife out of his “effing” mouth. Naturally, Rock was very surprised by this. Shortly after, Will Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in “King Richard.” He apologized for the slap but not to Rock. He compared himself to the character he won the Oscar for, which is the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

The mood in the room was silent and awkward after the slap but Smith got a rousing ovation upon winning the Oscar.

My first impression was that Will Smith was right to be angry and stand up for his wife. How dare someone attack anyone’s wife. Go get ’em, Will. You show the world how a man reacts when his family’s attacked. I’ve had very similar reactions at times when members of my family have been attacked, though I never punched anyone for it. But I can relate.

But then I thought about it a bit more and know that assault is wrong. You can’t go around punching people, even if it’s a slap. You can stand up for and defend your family without assaulting someone. And it seems most criticism I’ve heard has been directed at Smith while Rock has received his share as well.

And then I heard that Chris Rock had made a joke about Jada at a previous Academy Awards show she was boycotting because of the lack of diversity. He said, “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.” He had also replied to a tweet in the past that Will Smith had sent to his ex-wife, praising her as a mother.

But, I don’t think the past jokes Rock made at Pinkett Smith are very relevant here unless she’s the only person he’s been making jokes about. He’s Chris Rock. He makes a lot of jokes. He once joked that he doesn’t condone O.J. Simpson murdering his ex-wife, but he understands. So, a lot of people don’t condone what Will Smith did with the Oscar slap to Rock, but they understand.

But, Will Smith does understand. He understands better to get all slappy about a joke directed at his wife. Will Smith is the ultimate Hollywood player. He knows the system. He knows the industry. He is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He knows what happens at award shows because he’s won 84 awards for his acting. This is not the first time a comic told jokes at an awards show directed at the celebrities in attendance. There have been some really mean and nasty jokes performed at award shows. The creator of Family Guy, Seth McFarlane, once opened an Oscars with a song titled, “We saw your boobs,” which was directed at several actresses in the audience. Nobody slapped him but you know a lot of women wanted to.

And then I heard the joke Chris Rock delivered at Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock said, “”Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see ya.” G.I. Jane, in case you didn’t see it (I didn’t), starred Demi Moore who shaved her head in the film. Some people believe it was actually a compliment because G.I. Jane is tough. Will Smith initially laughed.

After the slap, which was picked up by the microphones, Chris Rock said, “Oh, wow. Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me.” Will Smith yelled at him a few times after he returned to his seat and Rock tried to explain it was just a joke. Then, Rock recovered and continued hosting the Oscars. Chris Rock literally rolled with the punch.

You can be a tough guy for giving a punch, but you can be a tougher guy for being able to take it. Chris Rock may not be a danger to anyone physically, but he’s tough. I respect he kept going. I also respect that Chris Rock isn’t pressing charges because he has a case. I also think he’s doing the right thing by not pressing charges and Will Smith should thank him for that.

There’s talk about rescinding Will Smith’s award for best actor but I don’t agree with that. He messed up and shouldn’t have this accomplishment taken away from him. I’m sure Rock agrees. Will Smith should now apologize and thank Chris Rock. What he should have done instead of slapping Rock was to approach him later after the show and tell him how he felt…without violence. You can walk up and tell somebody that something they did wasn’t cool. You can also tell them why. And for all we know, Rock may have apologized. Isn’t that what we want when we’ve been insulted? Isn’t an apology good enough in these situations?

If Will Smith’s going to punch anyone from the Madagascar movies, it shouldn’t be Chris Rock, who played Marty, the Zebra. He should punch David Schwimmer because Melman the giraffe was all over Gloria the hippo, played by Jada Pinkett Smith. I hate to judge but a giraffe and hippo…that’s just not right. And how is the physics required for that coupling even possible? I can’t even figure out how humans do it with other humans in showers. Also, don’t we all want to punch Ross Geller, even just a little bit? Maybe just one slap for each time he said, “We were on a break” or worse, “pivot.”

The Academy Awards have been suffering from low ratings and lack of interest for years and now they’re upset over this attention. I say, revel in it. They should promote next year’s with the question, “Who’s gonna get slapped this year?” Maybe they can outdo the Razzies with a slap award for worst actor. Each year, the worst actor has to be slapped by Will Smith. Of if that’s too much, Jesse Eisenberg. That guy isn’t a threat to anybody. Also, the worst actor gets to slap back. That…I would watch. Who wouldn’t want to see Pauly Shore and Jesse Eisenberg in a slapfest?

There’s also the slap bet from “How I Met Your Mother.” Marshall had won several slaps by betting with Barney, which gave Marshall five slaps to deliver to Barney at any time. The slaps were also transferable so someone else could slap Barney. Maybe instead of taking away Will Smith’s Oscar, the Academy can set up a slap-bet commissioner, (I would nominate Alyson Hannigan, who played Lily in “HIMYM” and was the slap-bet commissioner) who will decide how many slaps Chris Rock gets to give to Will Smith…at any time he wants. Two years from now, Will Smith could be filming a scene for Men In Black 4 when all of a sudden, an alien turns out to be Chris Rock and slaps the crap out of Agent J. Knowing you have a slap debt makes you live in constant terror.

If nothing else, Wrestlemania is approaching. Maybe Vince McMahon can set up a slapping match between Will Smith and Chris Rock. I would watch that too.

Music Note: I listened to Verbena again because it’s great stuff to color to.

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