There Was No Escaping the Slap on SNL

Will Smith-Chris Rock incident gets the 'Saturday Night Live' treatment
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2022 6:50 AM CDT

If you've grown weary of the seemingly wall-to-wall coverage of the notorious Will Smith-Chris Rock Oscar slap, Saturday Night Live offered little respite. The April 2 episode, which featured comedian/actor Jerrod Carmichael as host and musical guest Gunna, served up its take on the incident "again and again (and again)," as USA Today puts it. In the cold open, a Fox and Friends parody saw former President Trump (played by James Austin Johnson) FaceTime the co-hosts, who asked if he watched "the famous slap." He replied, "I did see slap, I enjoyed slap," then weaved in references to Smith's 2005 romantic comedy, Hitch. "Quite an arm on 'Hitch,' I always knew 'Hitch' had an arm."

Then Carmichael started his opening monologue with the line, "I'm not gonna talk about it." He continued, "Do you want to talk about it? Aren't you sick of talking about it? Can you believe it's been six days? It was a week ago. Doesn't it feel like it happened years ago? Doesn’t it feel like it happened when we were all in high school? It feels like it happened between Jamiroquai and 9/11. A long, long time ago. It happened on Sunday. Sunday! It’s Saturday, bro." SNL was far from done: There was an Oscars segment featuring Carmichael as a seat filler seated right behind Will Smith (played by Chris Redd).

The "Weekend Update" segment later wasted no time in addressing it, with Colin Jost—whose wife is actress Scarlett Johansson—joking that Smith set "a terrible precedent for having to defend your wife at award shows." Later in the segment, OJ Simpson (Kenan Thompson) was brought on to offer his take: "I don't want to say you've got rage issues, but hey—if the glove fits." USA Today notes that Rock has served as SNL host three times, most recently in 2020; Smith has never been on the show. (More Saturday Night Live stories.)

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