How Jimmy Kimmel joked about Will Smith’s slap during Oscars monologue

At the 2023 Oscars on Sunday night, everyone watching knew Jimmy Kimmel had to address the elephant in the room: last year’s infamous Oscars slap, when Will Smith walked up to the stage to smack Chris Rock after Rock told a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. But in a fashion similar to how Rock handled the incident during his recent Netflix stand-up special, Kimmel saved his barbs about Smith and the academy itself for the end of his well-received monologue.

“Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up,” he cracked, which earned him a “why I oughta” fist-shake threat from “The Banshees of Inisherin” nominee Brendan Gleeson. 

But Kimmel really got into the Slap at the end of his monologue. “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe,” Kimmel told the crowd. “And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater 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,” referencing Smith’s rambling acceptance monologue. 

“But seriously, the academy has a crisis team in place,” he continued. “If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothin’. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.” 

“And if any of you get mad at a joke and decide you want to come up here and get jiggy with it, it’s not going to be easy,” Kimmel said, before shouting out some action starts in the audience who will protect him, like the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield), and Fabel-man (Steven Spielberg). 

Kimmel cracked some other zingers during his monologue. “Everybody looks so great,” he said early in the monologue. “When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder, is Ozempic right for me?” referencing the diabetes medication that has become a popular weight-loss supplement in Hollywood and beyond.

The meanest joke he told was at “Babylon’s’” expense.

“I know people like to debate now which is better, movies or TV,” he said. “But here’s the thing – no matter how good a show is, there are some things movies can do that TV just can’t. For example, a TV show can’t lose $100 million. Is the gang from ‘Babylon’ here? I was just asking if they were here.”  

And he made a very pointed barb at the academy’s failure to nominate any female directors for Best Director this year. Positing that “Avatar: The Way of Water” director James Cameron chose not to attend the ceremony in protest of not being nominated, Kimmel said, “He does have a point. How do you not nominate the guy who directed ‘Avatar?’ Who does the academy think he is, a woman?”  

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