Saturday Night Live

How ‘SNL' Handled the Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscars Slap

Actor-comedian Jerrod Carmichael hosted while Gunna was the musical guest

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

"Saturday Night Live" returned after a short break with addressing the biggest news of the last week: Will Smith walking up on stage and slapping Chris Rock after he made a joke during the 94th Academy Awards.

“Thank you. Thank you very, very much. I’m not going to talk about it,” actor-comedian Jerrod Carmichael said up top, in his first opening monologue as host of "Saturday Night Live."

“I want to be clear up top: I’ve talked about it enough, kept talking about it, kept thinking about it. I don’t want to talk about it, and you can’t make me talk about it,"

While Carmichael seemed at first to be referencing the fact that he’d recently come out as gay in his new HBO comedy special, "Rothaniel", it turns out that he was, in fact, more than happy to address that particular situation.

Carmichael said he hopes people will watch the special and referenced coming out, to cheers from the crowd, which he called “an expected response” in New York.

“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. Honestly, if you’re gay in New York, you get to host "Saturday Night Live,” he joked. “This is the gayest thing you could possibly do. Like, I came out right onto the stage. We’re basically in an Andy Warhol fever dream right now.”

Carmichael continued back to the Oscars slap, saying that it feels like the incident happened “somewhere between Jamiroquai and 9/11—somewhere a long, long time ago.

“It feels like we’ve been living in the wake of it our entire lives,” he said. “It happened on Sunday! On Sunday!”

Carmichael continues going through his thought process about the slap each day this week, and joked that by Wednesday, the host admitted, “I wanted to kill myself.”

While he doesn’t “really remember” Thursday, by Friday, he made a vow to himself that he would “never, ever” speak about the slap again.

“Then, Lorne [Michaels] came into my dressing room. He was like, ‘I think you need to talk about it…The nation needs to heal,'” deadpanned Carmichael. “I said, ‘The nation needs to what? And you want me to do that? The nation don’t even know me. The nation has no clue who I am.'”

After staking the claim that he is, in fact, “the least famous” host in the history of "SNL," Carmichael decided to speak directly to former President Barack Obama about the Oscars.

“Hey B, what’s going on man? You don’t know me; I’m Jerrod. Nice to meet you,” he said. “You got us all hopped up on hope and change, and unfortunately, I have some news for you, Barack. You’re not going to like this. We need you back, because I think you’re going to have to talk about it. The nation needs to heal.”

"Saturday Night Live" had a cold open that was another go at “Fox and Friends,” featuring hosts Steve Doocy (played by Alex Moffat), Ainsley Earhardt (Heidi Gardner) and Brian Kilmeade (Mikey Day).

The hosts welcomed Clarence Thomas (Kenan Thompson) and his wife Ginni Thomas (Kate McKinnon) — whose support of the January 6 attempted coup has become quite the scandal.

“I take my duty as the Yoko Ono of the Supreme Court very seriously,” McKinnon as Ginni Thomas said. “All I want is a tidal wave of biblical vengeance to wash away the Biden crime family all the way to Gitmo and then we release the Kraken.”

Cecily Strong returned as host Jeanine Pirro for the spoof to bring up Disney. "Disney has an exciting new project: turning your kindergartener gay!” Strong as Pirro yelled to the audience.

“Governor DeSantis signed a bill protecting our precious Florida schools from America’s dangerous Ellens and Caitlyns. By the way, Caitlyn Jenner, welcome to the Fox News family! Now, ‘Woke Disney’ won’t stop until all of Disney World is packed with twinkerbelles, Cinderfellas and that gay Mr. Toad.”

When “Donald Trump” (James Austin Johnson) dialed into the show, he was asked about the Oscars slap as well. He answered by referring to Smith as his character in the film “Hitch.”

“I did see Slap, I enjoyed slap. I was I was very impressed with my Hitch. Quite an arm on Hitch. I always knew Hitch had an arm. Back in ‘Pursuit of Happyness,’ he’s slugging the machine on and off the subway. I thought it was great. You know, they slept in the bathroom in that movie. It’s so sad. it’s a sad night for Hitch too.”

Later, in another reference to the Oscars, Carmichael plays a seat-filler sitting next to Smith (Chris Redd) at the award show.

“I don’t want to sound corny but you’re my hero, man,” Carmichael’s seat-filler said. “This is the coolest night of my life. I’m talking to Will Smith, Chris Rock just got up on stage. Can I get a selfie real quick?”

From there, Smith got out of his seat, slapped Rock and then tried to play it cool with the fan between pausing to scream back to Rock on stage. After the outburst, Smith went right back to laughing at host Amy Schumer and workshopping lines for his acceptance speech.

"Weekend Update" hosts 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 awards 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.”

Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, but Jost says that if he had been expelled instead, "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 are also known, 'Bad Boys for Life.'"

Jost jokes how even people attending the Oscars were googling "Did Will Smith just hit Chris Rock?"

In a non-Oscars sketch, Pete Davidson returned to "SNL" with his rapping skills alongside Chris Redd and musical guest Gunna about their preference for short movies over long movies, most notably blasting "The Batman" for its 3 hour run time.

Simon Rex makes a surprise appearance, whose performance in the indie hit "Red Rocket" received many accolades and stellar reviews this past awards season.

Next week, on April 9, Jake Gyllenhaal will host “SNL” for the second time.

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