In his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, host and comedian Jerrod Carmichael vowed he wouldn’t. “I’m not going to talk about it,” he said. He didn’t even have to say anything it was.
But sure enough, SNL found several ways to pick up on the much-discussed incident from last weekend’s Oscars Will Smith beat Chris Rock (a former “SNL” cast member) after making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.
The slap was addressed most directly in a sketch that aired about halfway through the program and cast Chris Redd as Smith and Carmichael as the Oscar show’s placeholder, who was next to Smith in the moments before Rock made his remarks.
Carmichael initially stated that he was a Smith fan, saying that he admired his film The Pursuit of Happyness and still uses his song “Getting Jiggy Wit It” as his ringtone. He asked if he could take a selfie when they realized Rock had come on stage.
Next we heard the sound of Rock’s voice uttering his now infamous joke, “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2’ can’t wait to see it.”
Redd said to Carmichael, “Hey, I’ll be right back man,” and walked off the record.
Then we heard the slap and watched the expression on Carmichael’s face change from glee to amazement.
As Redd nonchalantly returned to his seat, he asked Carmichael, “Hey, where are you from, man?”
A shaken Carmichael stuttered his reply, “Uh, nowhere, man,” he said.
Redd continued to converse with Carmichael while occasionally yelling expletives onstage.
The two were soon joined by Kyle Mooney, who played another seat filler who ignored Carmichael’s nonverbal warnings to stay away.
“Oh my god, are we right next to Will Smith?” Mooney exclaimed. “I have to tweet this.” He glanced at his phone. “And he’s trending,” he said, suddenly becoming unnerved.
Redd, still cheerful, introduced himself to Mooney and asked, “What’s your name?”
“I don’t – they didn’t give me one,” he answered uneasily.
Redd said the last two years have been complicated because of Covid, Zoom meetings and – his voice was shaking here – “Red Table Talk.”
When Carmichael’s phone rang, he tried to stop it from playing “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” but Redd told him not to turn it off. “Don’t answer that, man!” he said. “Let it ring! Everything is beautiful, all of you!”
Opening monologue of the week
Early in his monologue, Carmichael claimed he wouldn’t be talking about the slap — “Aren’t you tired of talking about it?” he asked the audience — while continuing to ponder it without actually describing it or naming his participants.
Though he was excited about the topic earlier in the week, Carmichael said, “By Friday, I made a vow to myself — I vowed never to speak about it again.” That changed after Lorne Michaels, the creator and executive producer of “SNL,” had visited his dressing room, Carmichael said.
“He said, I think it has to be talked about,” he said. “He said the nation must heal.”
Carmichael also spoke about his new HBO special, Rothaniel. in which he comes out as gay. In response to the audience’s applause, Carmichael said it was “nice but an expected response in New York.”
He continued: “That’s actually why I live here. If you say you’re gay in New York, you can ride the bus for free and people will just give you pizza. Honestly, if you’re gay in New York, you’re allowed to host Saturday Night Live. That’s the gayest thing you can do.”
In the closing moments of his monologue, Carmichael took the opportunity to address former President Obama. “And unfortunately I have news for you, Barack,” he said. “You won’t like this. We need you back because I think you need to talk about this. The nation must heal.”
Cold open of the week
The first sketch this weekend was a parody of “Fox & Friends” starring Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner and Mikey Day as hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade; Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon as Judges Clarence Thomas and Ginni Thomas; and Cecily Strong as Judge Jeanine Pirro.
The sketch ended with James Austin Johnson in his recurring role as former President Trump, who couldn’t resist sharing his thoughts on the slap.
“I saw a slap in the face,” Johnson said as Trump. “I enjoyed slap. I was very impressed by Hitch. Quite an arm on hitch. I always knew Hitch had an arm.” Still, he said the Oscars was a sad night: “That kind of behavior isn’t going to help Kevin James get a date with Allegra Cole, I can tell you that.” , he explained.
Weekend update jokes of the week
Over at the Weekend Update desk, moderators Colin Jost and Michael Che rattled on—what else? – The punch.
Intelligence officials say advisers misinform Vladimir Putin about how poorly the Russian military is doing in Ukraine. It’s like Will Smith’s agent telling him, “You screwed up at the Oscars.” Will Smith — for those of you who don’t know — took to the stage during the Oscars and punched Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. Which I think is a shameful act that sets a terrible precedent have to defend your wife at award ceremonies.
During his acceptance speech, Will Smith said, “Love will make you do crazy things.” You know what else makes you do crazy things? Insane. But I understand where Will is coming from. You can’t expect him to sit and watch another man jump on his wife without signing a non-disclosure agreement
Jost continued the thread:
Yesterday, Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He didn’t mean to, but then Jada gave him that look. If Will Smith had been expelled, he would have joined a small group of people who were kicked out of the academy, including Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein. Or, as they are also called, “Bad Boys for Life”.
Weekend Update Guest of the Week
Just when it looked like every celebrity imaginable had commented on the slap, “SNL” found one with a few more thoughts to share: OJ Simpson, played by Thompson during a visit to the Weekend Update Desk.
When asked by Che if he sided with Smith or Rock, Thompson kindly replied, “You know me — I hate conflict.” He also claimed not to understand Rock’s reference to “GI Jane.” When told it was a 1990s movie, Thompson replied, “The ’90s? Oh, I don’t remember anything from the ’90s.”