Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars for a third time Sunday night and couldn’t help but reference last year’s headline-making ceremony. “If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year — nothing,” the comedian and late night host said during his monologue, referencing Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022.
While Rock was presenting the award for best documentary, he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, shaving her head — which she did due to alopecia. After Rock compared her to “G.I. Jane,” Smith walked on stage, slapped Rock and then returned to his seat.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f****ing mouth,” Smith then yelled from his seat in the audience.
TV viewers and audience members were stunned by the unexpected outburst, with many wondering if it had been a planned bit — and several stars in the theater appeared confused and glued to their seats.
In his monologue Sunday night, Kimmel joked that if anything like that happened again this year, attendees should “sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
Kimmel also joked that this year, there are “strict policies in place” in case of another violent outburst.
“If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech,” he said, referencing Smith’s win in 2022 following the slap
As punishment for the slap, which Smith issued an apology for, he has been banned from the Oscars for 10 years.
Kimmel didn’t restrict his slap jokes just to the monologue. The host also seized the opportunity to bring up the incident ahead of the best documentary feature category, saying he hoped it would go off without a “Hitch,” referencing the 2005 romantic comedy in which Smith starred, playing the title role.
Kimmel got in another dig when mentioning the number of Irish actors in the room, saying that the “odds of another fight on stage just went way up.” He also referenced Smith’s 1997 hit song “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” while discussing the Irish cast of “The Banshees on Inisheran.”