Since the Oscars, Chris Rock has been performing at stand-up gigs across the country. He’s been workshopping several jokes about getting slapped by Will Smith, including a “joke” in which Chris refers to Will as “Suge,” as in Suge Knight, the gangster/former Death Row CEO notorious for beating the crap out of people and pulling guns on them. Before Will Smith’s YouTube apology last Friday, that was the headline – that Rock was calling Smith “Suge” in his act. Following Will’s YouTube apology, this piece appeared in People:
A source tells PEOPLE that Rock, 57, had “moved on” from the incident before Smith, 53, issued his first on-camera apology on Friday since the awards ceremony in March.
“Chris doesn’t need to talk. This is clearly something that bothers Will more than Chris,” the insider says of the pair. “Will needs to deal with his issues. Chris is fine.”
Another industry source adds that it is a positive sign that the comedian is already making light of the incident in his stand-up.
“The fact that he is making jokes about it already is a good thing,” the source says. “That means he is assessing it. But the stress of the slap and the aftermath has not taken over his life. Quite the opposite.”
….??? I mean…? It’s Chris Rock’s right to make fun of the slap or process sh-t on stage, of course. Just as I would argue that it’s Will Smith’s right to process his sh-t however he wants too, which apparently includes public apologies. The whole “Chris doesn’t need to talk” reeks of insecurity from Rock though. I’ve wondered this whole time if Rock has had any moments where he regrets making Will and Jada the butt of his jokes, or if he specifically regrets making a “joke” at the expense of a woman with alopecia on the night her husband was about to win an Oscar. I’m just saying, there could be many reasons why Rock doesn’t want to meet face to face with Will. As for Will, People Mag also had a long-winded story about why he made that YouTube video:
Will Smith posted his recent apology video to Chris Rock in an effort to move forward from their Oscars incident — and he’s still working on himself. A source tells PEOPLE of Smith, “From a person who has never displayed anything like [the slap], he’s very aware that isn’t someone he will ever be again,” adding, “He’s deeply remorseful, he is still doing a lot of work and he’s also human and made a mistake. He’s going to move forward with the same positivity that he always had.”
“If you spend your life beating yourself up over one thing then it’s really hard to move forward as the positive, joyful person that you know you are,” says the insider. “But he’s also in a very human place, recognizing that mistake and really looking at it and not brushing over it. He really needed to do the work, and that was very important to him.”
Addressing Smith’s decision to post the video, the source says: “There was no rhyme or reason to it other than time had passed, work had been done, the same questions had been bubbling up and also people were really wanting to hear from him in other ways, not even about this. There was just a general feeling that it’s time and he’s at a place where he had more things he wanted to say,” the insider adds. “He has always had that direct connection to people on social media and he felt it was appropriate now to show up and answer some questions. And he read them and answered them honestly. He’s worked with a therapist, people saw him in India at an ashram, but a lot of it has just been quietly at home,” says the source.
It sort of sounds like Will is trying to work some kind of 12-step program, only it’s not for drugs or alcohol. A 12-step program for losing his temper and slapping someone on live television. Anyway, I hope both Smith and Rock know that they don’t actually have to hash everything out in person. Bring back simmering grudges! Bring back “hating someone and never wanting to be in the same room with them.”
Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.