Chris Rock is giving politics a punchline.
The comedian referenced former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi during the Kennedy Center awards honoring Adam Sandler for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
“Paul Pelosi [is[ the only guy who knows how I felt,” Rock said, comparing Will Smith slapping him at the 2022 Oscars to the October 2022 assault on Pelosi (via USA Today). “Just me and you, Paul.”
Both Pelosis were in the audience at the Kennedy Center. Pelosi suffered a fractured skull after an intruder broke in his home demanding where Nancy is. Pelosi had to undergo surgery following the attack.
After Best Actor winner Smith slapped Rock onstage following a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s haircut, Rock allegedly had a bruised lip and cut face. Rock said during his Netflix live comedy special “Selective Outrage” that his face “still hurts” after Smith assaulted him.
Rock also joked during his stand-up tour over the incident. “Did that shit hurt? Goddam right,” he said last year. “The motherfucker hit me over a bullshit joke, the nicest joke I ever told.”
He added, “I’m not a victim. Yeah, that shit hurt, motherfucker. But I shook that shit off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.”
Smith later apologized for slapping Rock, calling the whole evening “fuzzy” in his memory. “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out,” Smith said in a social media video. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Jimmy Kimmel, who was the 2023 Academy Awards host after Smith turned down the gig, applauded how Rock handled the situation with Smith.
“It’s still shocking that that happened,” Kimmel told People magazine. “To see something like that happen outside of like ‘The Maury Povich Show’ is shocking. And then for it to happen on the Oscars magnifies it by about a million times. I mean, to be slapped in the face and to stay that cool is something that Chris should be proud of. Chris’ grandchildren, I hope, will still be proud of that when he’s dead and gone.”