Netflix had an opportunity, and they took it, they managed to create and live stream their first ever global event. The live show they chose to do this with? Chris Rock’s Standup special titled “Selective Outrage”. A lot of people tuned into this event to see what Chris Rock had in store in terms of comedy, this included myself tuning in as it was Netflix’s first ever “Live” show. I am not usually a fan of Chris Rock’s humor unless it’s in movies, however I was optimistic.
The best way I can describe his special is comedy mixed with a lot of Aggression. His special involved talking about how the world is now, how it’s changed, how everything has to be “Woke” as well as talking about life stories where he has used selective outrage. These stories range from him asking his daughter's principal to actually kick her out of school so she would be taught a lesson to something everyone’s been waiting for: his response to Will Smith's slap that happened over a year ago at the Oscars.
The first thing he opened up with on his special was how he was going to “Attempt” to do his stand up special without offending anybody and made a sarcastic comment about how he didn’t want anybody becoming “Triggered”.
“You have to watch what you say because words hurt! You know anybody who says words hurt… has never been punched in the face!” Rock stated to the crowd.
Rock made his point clear that one thing he has a problem with is “Selective Outrage” which makes sense considering the title.
There were not really as many jokes as it seemed more that he was mocking the type of culture we have nowadays, the type of culture nowadays is if we say or do something that one group doesn’t agree with, we get canceled or outcasted so to speak. Now I do agree that people who do messed up things should be held accountable, but one point that Rock makes is that anything can get someone canceled depending on how someone feels.
However, towards the end of the special is when things became heated. Because, in the last 10 minutes of his special he gave his response to the slap he was given by Will Smith.
“Everybody knows! Yes, it happened. A year ago, I got smacked at the Oscars and people were asking me, did it hurt? IT STILL HURTS!” Rock shouted. He went on to explain how despite the fact that it happened, he wasn’t going to play victim.
“Will smith practices Selective Outrage, because everybody knows what happened! Everybody that really knows what happened knows I had nothing to do with this, I had no entanglements.” Rock said to the crowd, a few laughs being overheard from the statement shortly after.
It was at this moment that I believe Chris Rock began to take this a little too far. I understand you want to give a response, but he could’ve easily stopped after he said he wasn’t going to be a victim. There was no need for it to go any further, at this point it's stirring the pot and bringing up things that had seemed to settle. One answer I heard from him that I found specifically distasteful is how he looks at Will Smith now.
“I rooted for Will Smith my whole life, my whole life I rooted for this guy, and now… I watch Emancipation just to see him get whooped!” Rock stated to the audience.
This moment here was the most distasteful for me because of what the premise of Emancipation is. For those who don’t know, Emancipation is a movie where Will Smith plays a runaway slave who’s trying to escape plantation owners that were trying to kill him. Now if I didn’t know what this movie was, this probably wouldn't have irked me. But knowing that the movie is based around such a terrible part of history and he has the audacity to poke fun at it just to make fun of Will Smith, is sickening to me.
Overall, the stand-up was fine for the most part up until that last ten minutes. I’m all for poking fun at the extremist people who cancel others because they like something different than them but I don’t think the proper way to handle a response is to blast it on a live event. If Chris Rock really wanted this whole slap issue to just end, he should’ve just kept it as simple as “It happened, I moved on”. So in the end, It is a comedy stand-up but behind it is a lot of built up aggression.