Dave Chappelle says Will Smith slapping Chris Rock showed he’s ‘as ugly as the rest of us’

At the same comedy show, Rock said the quip that offended Smith was “the nicest joke I ever told.”

Dave Chappelle has weighed in on Will Smith’s infamous slapping of Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars ceremony, which shattered the beloved Hollywood persona that the King Richard star had built up over a decades-long career.

During a stop on Chappelle and Rock’s joint comedy tour in Liverpool, England, on Thursday, Chappelle said, “Will did the impression of a perfect person for 30 years, and he ripped his mask off and showed us he was as ugly as the rest of us,” according to The Telegraph.

But the comic added that he doesn’t want to see Smith try to reconstruct a facade. “Whatever the consequences are… I hope he doesn’t put his mask back on again, and lets his real face breathe,” Chappelle said. And, he noted, “I see myself in both men.”

Chappelle also quipped that when Smith struck Rock, not long before claiming one of Hollywood’s greatest accolades, he was acting like he was back in his hometown. “A lot of people forget who Will Smith is,” he said. “Then 10 minutes before he was about to get the biggest award… he acted like he was back in Philadelphia.”

Smith received the Oscar for Best Actor shortly after slapping Rock, who had made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, having a shaved head. (Pinkett Smith has alopecia.) Smith won the Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard. During a tearful acceptance speech, he apologized to the Academy for the slap and attempted to explain his actions, saying, “Love will make you do crazy things,” but he did not mention Rock by name.

In the days after the ceremony, Smith apologized to Rock on social media and resigned from the Academy. He also released a video addressing the controversy in greater detail in July.

At the comedy show Thursday, Rock also discussed the incident, reportedly telling the crowd that Smith “hit me over a bulls— joke, the nicest joke I ever told.”

The 57-year-old comic hasn’t spoken about the slap much, but did say last month that he was asked to host next year’s Oscars telecast and declined.

Rock was also present when Chappelle was attacked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in May.

Thursday marked the first of three U.K. shows on Chappelle and Rock’s tour. They’ll appear at London’s O2 arena next and then headline sets throughout Europe.

 

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