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Calling himself the least famous host ever, Jerrod Carmichael awed the “Saturday Night Live” audience and viewers alike. The impeccable delivery of his monologue previewed the laughter that they would anticipate in the evening’s sketches. He mentioned “Rothaniel,” his new HBO comedy special that debuted on Friday, and added that he hoped people would watch. When he referenced coming out, the live audience cheered; the response he expected to hear in New York.
Carmichael told them their reaction was the reason he lives in the city. “If you say you’re gay in New York, you can ride the bus for free and people just give you pizza. Honestly, if you’re gay in New York, you get to host “Saturday Night Live,” he joked. “This is the gayest thing you could possibly do. Like, I came out right onto the stage. We’re basically in an Andy Warhol fever dream right now.”
The actor-comedian never uttered the event he eluded to in his opening but it is likely most people knew by the third line, if not sooner. “I’m not gonna talk about it,” the infamous slap at last week’s Academy Awards.
Jerrod Carmichael’s monologue! pic.twitter.com/lJGzY0R9zo
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) April 3, 2022
Not only did Carmichael elude to the controversial altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but many of the “SNL” skits tackled the story. The stand-up comic played a part in several “gut-bustingly funny” sketches.
“Seat Fillers,” is another segment dedicated to the slap. Tuxedo-clad Carmichael as the seat-filling fan, and Chris Redd as Smith seated near one another at the Oscars. Smith was subjected to a bit of hero-worship as the “SNL” host excitedly chatted about how cool it was to be talking with Smith and seeing Rock on the stage. He asked for a selfie.
He asked for a selfie but before he could snap a photo, Redd paused him, got out of his chair, and apparently strolled onto the stage to accost Rock.
The funniest part of the sketch was Smith returning to his seat and calmly conversing with Carmichael only to pause again; this time to yell “keep my wife’s name out of your [expletive] mouth!” Then he asked his fan, “What about a selfie, man?”
Viewers did not see the altercation onstage nor did they see Rock, the setup alluded to his presence.
“Weekend Update” hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost devoted several minutes of their segment talking about the slap.
Shortly after he assaulted Rock, Smith accepted his Oscar for best actor. “King Richard” is his third nomination and first win. He joked about Smith’s ability to move swiftly from anger to calmness and referenced a line from Smith’s acceptance.
“Love will make you do crazy things,” Che said. “You know what also makes you do crazy things? Crazy.”
Jost suggested that the Oscar attendees were Googling: Did Will Smith just hit Chris Rock?” Despite earlier reports that Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, Jost’s next line was about expulsion.
Smith “would have joined a small group of people kicked out of the Academy including Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, and Harvey Weinstein. Or as they were also known, ‘Bad Boys for Life.'”
They were joined by Kenan Thompson as O.J. Simpson who said that Smith “might have overreacted when by slapping Chris Rock.” He added:
I mean, Will, I don’t want to say that you’ve got rage issues. But hey, if the glove fits. I’m just saying. Chris ain’t exactly innocent either. Nobody likes to be made fun of.
This program was the first of three new “Saturday Night Live” episodes. Next week, April 9, Jake Gyllenhaal will host “SNL” for the second time. The musical guest will be Camila Cabello. The following week, April 16, Lizzo will host. She is also the “SNL” musical guest.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Washington Post: SNL has a field day making fun of Oscars slap and mocking Will Smith; by Emily Yahr
NBC Chicago 5 News: How ‘SNL’ Handled the Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscars Slap; by Elizabeth Both
TVLine: SNL Video: Host Jerrod Carmichael Takes on Will Smith’s Oscars Slap; by Dave Nemetz
Images by Will Heath Courtesy of NBCUniversal Media Village – Used With Permission