Jimmy Kimmel Brings ‘The Will Smith Slap’ Back in the 2023 Oscars Opening Monologue

Jimmy Kimmel reminds everyone of Will Smith slap throughout 2023 Oscars ceremony

Jimmy Kimmel, who kicked off the 95th Annual Academy Awards by dropping onto the Dolby Theatre’s stage via parachute, made it a point to sporadically remind everyone of last year’s altercation between Chris Rock and Will Smith, resulting in the infamous slap incident.

The 55-year-old late-night host opened the 2023 Oscars with a monologue by taking a swipe at Will Smith and saying: “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. 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.”

Pointing to the Academy’s lack of action on the whole incident he said: “No but 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 nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.” He then quickly said that this year’s show would be “no-nonsense” and “no shenanigans.”

Kimmel’s plethora of comic remarks during the Oscars also included poking fun about Tom Cruise and James Cameron not being there. Kimmel pointed out that Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick pushed audiences to go back to the theatres but he could not be pushed to come to this one himself.

The late-night show host also commented towards the paucity of female filmmakers nominated for Best Director. The monologue also included a joke about Ozempic, a diabetic drug that many suspect has been sweeping Hollywood in recent months since a known side effect is weight loss.

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Jimmy Kimmel quickly returned to his pool of slap jokes, just as Academy Award winners Riz Ahmed and Questlove arrived to present the prize for Best Documentary Feature Film. With the award and its prior recipient being the forerunner to Chris Rock being slapped on TV, Kimmel made a point of it, telling the crowd to “clap your hands and keep them to yourself.”

The jokes didn’t stop there. Throughout the night, Kimmel made other references to the slap including, “At this point in the show, it kind of makes you miss the slapping a little bit, right?” and “Five Irish actors are nominated tonight — which means the odds of another fight again onstage just went way up,” he said, tying his remark to the cast of The Banshee of Inisherin. 

The show ended with one final jab at the infamous altercation when Kimmel updates a sign that reads “Number of Oscars Telecasts Without Incident” with “001.”

As “The Slap” appeared at this year’s show, it nearly felt like the conclusion of what appears to be an interminable news cycle around that event. On the other hand, it may just be a restart, in which case Jimmy Kimmel would be rushing back out with some new content on the matter.

Lily Bart

Lily is an avid researcher and writer with a keen interest in the global entertainment and media industry. A passionate binge-watcher, she keeps herself and her audiences updated about all the hit shows and movies, as well as the latest news and advancements in the industry. An expert and enthusiast, she has won all of our in-house movie trivia quizzes.

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