Not every joke about Will Smith made it into Jimmy Kimmel’s big monologue.
On Sunday night, the Oscars host cracked his fair share of jokes about the infamous incident at last year’s ceremony, where Smith slapped Chris Rock live onstage.
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But according executive producer and Kimmel’s wife, Molly McNeary, not every laugh line they came up with made it in, including some more pointed ones.
“We didn’t want to make this year all about last year,” McNearney told Variety. “I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it. There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that. That should be Chris Rock, not us.”
She added, “But we really liked the idea of making fun of the reaction to it last year. I think we’re all still in a bit of shock of how that went down and how after watching that violence everyone had to then sit through an acceptance speech.”
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In his monologue, Kimmel did indeed joke mostly about the relative non-reaction in the room to Smith’s slap during last year’s show.
“We know this is a special night for you. We want you to have fun. We want you to feel safe. And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place,” he said. “If anyone in this theatre 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.”
Kimmel continued, joking, “Seriously, The Academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony. Just do what you did last year: nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
Following the slap, the Academy elected to ban Smith from attending Oscars and other Academy-related events for 10 years, though he remains a member of the organization.