“Saturday Night Live” addresses Will Smith, who hit Chris Rock at the Oscars: “The nation needs healing”


Almost a week after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscar ceremony, “Saturday Night Live” intervened in the conversation.

“I have a question — do you want to talk about it? Aren’t you tired of talking about it? Isn’t that crazy? It feels like I’ve been talking about this for so long,” host Jarrod Carmichael addressed the situation without directly mentioning the participants during his monologue on Saturday, April 2, about the long—running variety series. “Can you believe that this happened six days [ago]? …Doesn’t it feel like it happened many years ago? For example, doesn’t it seem like it happened when we were all in high school?”

He continued: “It seems that we have lived in the light of this all our lives. It happened on Sunday! On Sunday! Saturday, bro. …If it was Monday, you wouldn’t be able to silence me about it. I’ve been talking about it all Monday. Tuesday, still talking about it is a little less exciting, because by Tuesday it had stopped being about it. It started with a lot of proxy arguments [about] hair, black and white people on Twitter.”

The 34-year-old comedian from Rotani then stated that he had finished talking about the incident by Thursday and Friday, until the show suggested he include it in his Saturday set.

“Then Lorne [Michaels] walked into my dressing room. He’s like, “I think you need to talk about this. The nation needs to heal,” joked Carmichael, who confessed to being gay during an HBO special this month. “I said, ‘What does the nation need? And you want me to do that? The country doesn’t even know me. The nation has no idea who I am.”

The Carmichael Show alumni monologue wasn’t the only time SNL, which also had a musical performance by Gunna, joked about meeting Oscar. During the sketch “Seat Fillers”, the actors parodied the events when Will Smith (Chris Redd) talked to the seat filler (Carmichael) during a Rock performance. While Carmichael’s character eagerly asked Redd Smith to take a selfie, after the slap, everything changed.

“No, it’s okay, no, I deleted my phone,” Carmichael added on Saturday.

Colin Yost also touched on the incident during Saturday’s “Weekend Update” segment, drawing parallels with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Intelligence officials say that Vladimir Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is acting in Ukraine,” said the 39—year-old Tom and Jerry actor. “It’s like Will Smith’s agent telling him: “You crushed him at the Oscars!”

Yost added that, from his point of view, Smith’s actions were “shameful” and created “a terrible precedent of having to defend his wife at award ceremonies.”

At the awards ceremony on March 27, the 57-year-old Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, starring in the movie “J.I. Jane 2, referring to her shaved head. In response, 53-year-old Smith burst onto the stage and punched the comedian in the face, and then returned to his seat in the front row and shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”

While some viewers thought that this moment could have been scripted, Rock was clearly shocked. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air graduate addressed the incident in his emotional acceptance speech after receiving the trophy for Best Actor in a Leading Role for King Richard.

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. … Art imitates life: I look like a crazy father. Just like they talked about Richard Williams,” Smith said through tears, referring to the father and coach of Venus and Serena Williams, whom he played in the biopic. “But love will make you do crazy things. …Thank you for this moment. And thank you on behalf of Richard and the entire Williams family. Thanks. I hope the Academy will invite me back.”

A day later, the rapper “Summertime” offered Rock a more direct apology. “Violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive,— Smith wrote on Instagram on Monday, March 28. — My behavior at yesterday’s Academy Award ceremony was unacceptable and inexcusable. …I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am confused, and my actions did not indicate who I want to be.”

Several comedians criticized Smith for hitting Rock over the joke, including Oscar co-host Wanda Sykes. “I just thought, ‘What? Is this really happening?” said the 58—year-old graduate of the “New Adventures of Old Christine” during her appearance on Wednesday, March 30, on the Ellen DeGeneres show. “I felt so terrible for my friend Chris, and it was disgusting; it was absolutely disgusting. I physically felt bad, and I’m still a little traumatized.”

Sykes also revealed that when she confronted Rock after the show, he apologized to her for the incident, which overshadowed the work she, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall had done to co-host the evening.

The 40-year-old Life & Beth star, for her part, said she was still going through what happened during the ceremony.