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Will Smith was enraged by Chris Rock's jab at Jada Pinkett Smith, but it's unlikely to be the last embarrassing joke at the Oscars

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By Funnyvot Auditorial - - 5 Mins Read
After years of fighting to reclaim viewers, the Oscars saw a significant increase in viewership this year — but not for the reasons the Academy had hoped. Will Smith stormed the stage to punch presenter Chris Rock after a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith went viral, sparking passionate debate about Smith's actions — as well as the commentary that caused them. While no one expected violence on the Oscars stage, the kind of gags that Rock favors have a long history at award events and in popular culture in general. "There's a dated element to a lot of Chris Rock's material, the 'your mama'-type joke, that is very anachronistic in 2022," says Associate Professor Lauren Rosewarne, a pop culture expert at the University of Melbourne. "You know what you're going to get when you get Chris Rock, a comedian who has that '90s comedy history — and that's OK, it works for certain audiences, but it's never going to play well on places like Twitter where the humor, in my experience, leans more to a progressive, modern style." Then there was the now-famous joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. ". "Jada, I love you," Rock says, "G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it." Pinkett Smith, to her husband's right, can be seen rolling her eyes and apparently annoyed with the jest. Those that aren't familiar with G.I. Jane, the line needs some explanation: Demi Moore appears in the 1997 picture with a closely shaved head, similar to Pinkett Smith, who has openly discussed her battle with alopecia – an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Cue Smith, who could be seen laughing on-camera moments earlier, walking up to Rock, striking him, and yelling: "Keep my wife's name out of your f—ing mouth". Many people have criticized the joke for making fun of a medical condition on the same night that CODA, a film about a deaf family with only one hearing member, won the award for best picture for its inclusive portrayal of handicaps. Here's how the audience responded to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, as well as what Hollywood had to say about the incident. The internet was swamped with emotions after Will Smith smacked Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, ranging from memes to more serious reminders of the moment's severity. What was the reaction in the room? Lupita Nyong'o, who was seated behind Will Smith, had her whole reaction to the occasion captured on video as it unfolded. She, like the rest of the audience, was taken aback by Smith's outburst when he returned to his seat. Smith's face becomes more serious as she tells Rock to "keep my wife's name out of your f***ing lips." At some point during the event, Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z, were photographed. Jay-Z appeared concerned, as Beyonce exchanged a glance with someone out of sight. Nicole Kidman was also caught on camera looking surprised during the event, but it's unclear whether she was reacting to the smack. Chris Rock is seen shaking his head in shock as he goes off stage after the event. Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry are seen discussing with Will Smith during the commercial break. Before a representative of Smith approaches to comfort and hug him, the actors signal to Smith to blow off the situation. Smith then wipes his eyes and returns to his seat next to his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. What has Hollywood had to say about it? The Academy Awards announced in a tweet that it "does not condone violence in any form," but it's unclear whether Will Smith will face any consequences as a result of the event. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's son, Jaden, remarked on Twitter, "and that's how we do it," while 50 Cent said, "LOL." Will things change as a result of this? According to Rosewarne, the latest controversy is "very much in line with Chris Rock's brand of humor." That suggests the Academy understood exactly what they were getting themselves into. "You've seen controversial hosts, let's say like Ricky Gervais for the Golden Globes, anyone who has seen five minutes of Ricky Gervais knows what you're getting if you hire him for a host," she says, "and they've hired him repeatedly". Following the incident on Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, stated that "violence in any form is not condoned." However, it is unclear whether Smith will be invited back, or whether the 94th Academy Awards will act as a wake-up call.