Will Smith jokes were cut from Jimmy Kimmel’s Oscars speech: “There were certainly some that went harder”

"We didn’t want to make this year all about last year"

One of the producers at this year’s Oscars has revealed that a number of Will Smith jokes were cut from Jimmy Kimmel’s script.

At last year’s ceremony, Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage for making a joke about the hair of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Just moments later, Smith received the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard.

While giving his opening monologue at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday (March 12), presenter Kimmel jokingly referenced the incident, saying: “If anyone in this theatre commits an act of violence at any point during this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.”


However, there were additional jokes about the Smith-Rock slap that didn’t make Kimmel’s final script.

Will Smith
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars 2022. CREDIT: Getty

Molly McNearney, an executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Kimmel’s wife, explained that the writing team decided to restrict the number of jokes about the incident, as they didn’t want to focus too much on the past.

“We didn’t want to make this year all about last year,” McNearney told Variety.

“I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it.”

She added that some of the risqué jokes were left out, as they felt it should be Rock’s place to comment on the incident himself.


“There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that,” McNearney said. “That should be Chris Rock, not us.”

Oscars 2023
An Oscar statue in Hollywood CREDIT: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

In Rock’s new stand-up special for Netflix, Selective Outrage, the comedian spoke in detail about the slap for the first time, saying: “Everybody knows it happened. I got smacked a year ago. I got smacked at the Oscars by this motherfucker. And people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts. I’ve got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ear.”

He went on to say he “wasn’t a victim. You’ll never see me on Oprah crying. Never going to happen. ‘I couldn’t believe it, and I loved Men In Black.’ Nope! Fuck that shit, I took that hit like [boxer Manny] Pacquiao. Did it hurt? Yes motherfucker, it hurt.”

“I know you can’t tell on camera, but Will Smith is significantly bigger than me,” Rock continued. “He does movies with his shirt off. You’ve never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie. Do you think I auditioned for that part?”

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