Ricky Gervais defends Chris Rock at Oscars: “The tamest joke I would’ve ever told”

"You don’t hit someone over a joke, however bad it is – and it wasn’t bad"

Ricky Gervais has defended Chris Rock for making a joke about Will Smith‘s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during last month’s Oscars ceremony.

The comedian and actor said that it wasn’t a “bad” joke as he appeared to poke fun at the gravity that people have applied to Pinkett Smith’s alopecia condition, the apparent subject of which was what offended her and her husband, who slapped Rock in response.

Despite Rock’s joke, in which he said that Pinkett Smith’s cropped haircut made her look like “GI Jane”, Rock had “no idea” about her alopecia, according to a source.


Now, responding to fans on a Twitter live after being asked for his thoughts about the incident, Gervais said: “You don’t hit someone over a joke, however bad it is – and it wasn’t bad” [via The Independent].

“That was like the tamest joke I would’ve ever told,” the comedian added.

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

Gervais had previously said during a stand-up show in London last week that he would have joked about Pinkett Smith’s “boyfriend” August Alsina instead of her appearance.

“People were going, ‘What would have happened if Ricky Gervais had been doing it [hosting the Oscars]?’” Gervais continued.

“Well, nothing, as I would not have made a joke about his wife’s hair. I would have made a joke about her boyfriend.”


Pinket Smit and US singer Alsina have been involved in an “entanglement”, which she has discussed on her Red Table Talk show.

Ricky Gervais

Gervais also mocked people criticising Rock for “joking about [Pinkett-Smith’s] disability”.

“Well, I’m going a bit thin – I’m disabled,” Gervais said, pointing to his head. “That means that I can park right up next to Tescos now.”

He continued: “And I’m fat, that’s a disease. I’m fat and balding. I should get fucking benefits,” he said, laughing to his followers.

The news follows Rock’s brother, Kenny, criticising the Academy for its lack of action following the onstage assault.

“It eats at me watching it over and over again because you’ve seen a loved one being attacked and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Kenny, an actor and entrepreneur, told The Los Angeles Times in a story published on Monday (April 4).

Following numerous apologies over the incident, Smith has since resigned from the Academy and described his actions as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable”.