DE PERE (NBC 26) — Chris Rock’s joke toward Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2022 Oscars sparked one of the most infamous moments in Oscars history in what is being dubbed as “the slap seen around the world.” UW-Green Bay alumnus, John Egan (’07 Communication), a comedian with ComedyCity Theatre, says that when he witnessed the on-stage confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock he was stunned. “My first thought was what happened? Because they stopped the audio so you’re just panicking like what’s going on, what was said?” Egan said. “Then they cut back to when Will Smith is screaming at Chris Rock.”While he believes Smith’s reaction was wrong, Egan says he does understand how the joke was insensitive.
Mary Gallagher, a comedian from Wisconsin and UWGB alumna (’90, Theatre) who is now working in L.A, says she was also in shock after watching the viral incident.
“I am constantly in that kind of self reflection of like ‘oh what do I want to say here and how will this be received?’” Gallagher said.
Gallagher says the lack of response by security at the Oscars sets a dangerous precedent.
“If you’re in a comedy club and that happens, that person would be escorted out immediately and that did not happen,” Gallagher said. “So it kind of feels like it set a precedent like that was okay.”