‘SNL’ Cold Open, Opening Monologue Tackle Will Smith, Chris Rock Slap – The Hollywood Reporter

In the cold open of the April 2 episode of Saturday Night Live, Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt had James Austin Johnson’s President Donald Trump address Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony on March 27.

“I did see the slap. I enjoyed slap,” Johnson’s Trump said. “I was very impressed with the slap.”

Later, host Jerrod Carmichael also addressed the slap in his opening monologue, saying he wasn’t going to talk about “it.” Despite focusing nearly his entire monologue on the incident, he never once directly mentioned the Oscars, the Academy, Smith or Rock.

“I’m not gonna talk about it,” he began his monologue. “I’ve talked about it enough. Kept talking about it. Kept thinking about it. I don’t wanna talk about it. You can’t make me talk about it.”

He went on to ask the audience if they wanted to talk about it, if they weren’t sick about it and if they could believe that it only happened six days ago.

“Six days. This happened a week ago. Doesn’t this feel like it happened years ago?” Carmichael said. He added that on Monday, it was exciting, and Tuesday it was still exciting, but by Wednesday, “I wanted to kill myself,” he joked.

The host also said that, although he wasn’t planning to address the moment in his monologue, SNL honcho Lorne Michaels specifically asked him to discuss it because “the nation needs to heal.”

Carmichael went on to talk about coming out as gay in his new special on HBO, Rothaniel.

“This is nice but an expect response in New York,” he said, referring to the audience’s applause. “It’s actually why I live here. “If you say you’re gay in New York, you can ride the bus for free, and people just give you pizza. If you’re gay in New York, you get to host Saturday Night Live. This is the gayest thing you can possibly do.”

He continued, “We’re basically like an Andy Warhol fever dream right now. ‘Heal the nation,’ bro? There’s so much gay stuff I gotta do before I can heal the nation. I’ve got so many homophobic cousins, I can’t even heal my family.”

The comedian ended his opening monologue by asking former president Barack Obama, who “got us all hopped on hope and change,” to come back and address “it.” “The nation needs to hear,” he said.

In a later sketch in the episode, Carmichael and Chris Redd reenacted the slap. “Seat filler” Carmichael went up to Redd’s Smith, telling him he was such a fan of his and asked him for a selfie. In the background, voiceover can be heard of Rock’s G.I. Jane joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has a shaved head and has been open about her struggle with alopecia.

“I don’t wanna sound corny, but you’re like my hero, man,” Carmichael told Redd’s Smith. “This is the coolest man in my life. I’m talking to Will Smith. Chris Rock just got up onstage.”

Redd’s Smith told Carmichael he’d be right back and went onstage to slap Rock, returning to his seat shortly after as if nothing was wrong.

“I like your tux, by the way,” Redd told Carmichael. “Look good, feel good,” he continued before turning his attention to the stage and shouting, “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth,” like Smith yelled at Rock at the Oscars on Sunday.

During weekend update, Colin Jost and Michael Che spent several minutes of their weekly segment devoted to Smith slapping Rock, with Jost joking it set a “precedent for having to defend your wife at award shows.”

Che then took a jab at Smith’s acceptance speech for best actor, in which he said that “love will make you do crazy things.”

“Love will make you do crazy things,” Che said. “You know what also makes you do crazy things? Crazy.”

Che continued, “But I understand where Will’s coming from. I mean, you can’t expect him to sit there and watch another man jump all over his wife — without an NDA.”

Jost chimed in, “Yesterday, Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He wasn’t going to, but then Jada gave him that look. If Will Smith had been expelled, he would have joined a small group of people kicked out of the Academy, including Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein. Or, as they’re also known, bad boys for life.”

Che then asked if people could stop pretending that everyone knew Pinkett Smith had alopecia, joking that of everything that has been heard Pinkett Smith and Smith’s personal lives, it can’t be expected everyone retains everything.

“Selfishly, as a comedian,” he added. “I’m tired of people putting their own insecurities on our joke intentions. I mean, I can’t make a joke about it being cold outside without somebody yelling back, ‘Stop making fun of my small penis.’”

Kenan Thompson joined Weekend Update as OJ Simpson to give his opinion on how the slap has divided Hollywood.

“In my humble opinion, Will Smith maybe overreacted by slapping Chris Rock,” Thompson said. “I mean, Will, I don’t wanna say that you got rage issues, but if the glove fits.”

The bits come the day after Smith announced he was resigning from the Academy in light of slapping Rock at the awards show. After the slap, Smith shouted at the comedian from his seat in the front row, telling him to keep his wife’s name out of his “fucking mouth.”

Toward the end of the award show, Smith returned to the Oscars stage to accept his award for best actor for his performance in King Richard. During his speech, Smith emotionally apologized to the Academy and fellow nominees for his actions. But it wasn’t until Monday that Smith apologized to Rock in an Instagram post.

Rock has remained mostly silent on what happened, telling the audience at his comedy show in Boston on Wednesday that he was “still kind of processing what happened,” but that, at one point, he will “talk about that shit. And it’ll be serious, and it’ll be funny.”

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