Oscars Producer Explains Why Kimmel’s Will Smith Slap Jokes Were Cut – Rolling Stone

Jimmy Kimmel unsurprisingly had quite a few more Will Smith/slap jokes lined up for this year’s Oscars, but executive producer Molly McNearney (who’s also Kimmel’s wife) explained why they were ultimately cut from the show in a new interview with Variety.

“We didn’t want to make this year about last year,” McNearney said. “I can’t tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that we got away with. We think only the best for that room made it.”

Of course, there were a few bits about Smith punching Chris Rock sprinkled throughout, starting with Kimmel’s monologue PSA: “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any time during this show, you will be awarded an Oscar for Best male lead and allowed to give a 19-minute long speech.”

Before the award for best documentary was presented — the award Rock was handing out when Smith beat him — Kimmel said, “Hopefully it goes without a hitch this time, or at least without a hitch. Hitch.” And at the end of the show, Kimmel walked over to a sign that read “Number of Oscar telecasts without incident” and turned a zero into a one.


All things considered, these jokes were clever, even if they were pretty tame. McNearney said there were “definitely some (jokes) that went harder”, but added, “we didn’t think it was our place to do that. It should be Chris Rock, not us.” (In fact, Rock unloaded on Smith in his new stand-up special, released earlier this month.)

McNearney added of the show’s approach to addressing the slapping: “(W)e really liked the idea of ​​making fun of the reaction to last year. I think we’re all still a little shocked by how it went, and how after seeing that violence, so everyone had to sit through an acceptance speech.”

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