It's been almost a year since that infamous Oscars slap incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock. It's high time, then, that the latter – the recipient of said slap – shared his perspective of the unprecedented moment.
Now, we have that perspective – albeit one wrapped up in Rock's trademark, unashamedly abrasive comedic style. In his new Netflix comedy special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, the comedian didn't hold back on making light of the situation.
Rock made multiple references to the incident in question in the early parts of his show – the first-ever comedy special to be globally aired live on Netflix – before dedicating a whole section to the event later in his routine. Not content with roasting Will Smith over the brief skirmish, Rock also made fun of Smith's wife Jada, which included the pair's infamous Red Table Talk episode that featured the pair discussing Jada's affair.
With Rock breaking his silence with a joke-laden verdict on the Oscars slap in Selective Outrage, his fans and more casual observers couldn't wait for his latest Netflix comedy special to land. And, in the wake of Selective Outrage debuting on the world's best streaming service on March 5, viewers have taken to social media to give their thoughts on Rock's version of events and the special overall.
For someone as divisive as Rock, it'll come as no surprise to see that viewers either enjoyed what was on offer or didn't. Michael Oti Adjei was one of the former, likening Rock's amusing take on the Oscars slap and more to "flying tackles":
Chris Rock went in with flying tackles in that Netflix specialMarch 5, 2023
Twitter user Saltpond Tigerwood was similarly enthusiastic, saying Rock went on a "roasting rampage" throughout the special's 60-minute runtime:
Chris Rock's Netflix Special was absolutely ruthless.He went on a roasting rampage, he was maaaadtMarch 5, 2023
Gary Walters agreed with his fellow fans, saying rock was "crushing it", while fellow Twitter user Fatherof4Lunas hailed the performance as "old school Chris Rock" before going on to give it an overenthusiastic rating of 15/10.
BombShezzy also summed Selective Outrage up with a simple "I am dying" tweet, which included a crying laughing emoji, before social media user malahkhai dropped the proverbial mic by saying Rock had won the Oscars slap war over Smith:
#SelectiveOutrage is 💯…Will Smith may have won the battle, but today Chris Rock won the war. #ChrisRockLive #ChrisRock #NetflixMarch 5, 2023
For every positive social media reaction, though, there was an equally unenthused or outright negative one.
Kenny Hamilton was one of the first to express his disappointment in the show, saying it was funny on occasion but didn't hit the high notes he expected it to – a sentiment also aired by Twitter user TeddieBae.
I’ve always liked Chris Rock in movies. Never been a big fan of his stand up. The special last night was funny at times but still didn’t hit like I thought it would…March 5, 2023
Twitter user totalbetchmove suggested that viewers under the age of 40 would be lost watching Selective Outrage. Well, outside of the obvious references and material concerning the 2022 Oscars slap, anyway:
Everyone under 40 watching the Chris Rock Special on Netflix right now #crickets #ChrisRock pic.twitter.com/wrWpv3EQWOMarch 5, 2023
Douglass Sloan was equally unimpressed, suggesting that Rock had "lost his fastball" over how he delivers his punchlines. John M Becker was even more savage in his social media review, calling Chris Rock's new comedy special "painful" and "embarrassing to watch". Ouch.
Ouch. This Chris Rock Netflix special is painful… and embarrassing wowMarch 5, 2023
Away from the discourse surrounding Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, some viewers had other thoughts on the comedy special.
Larry Chiang drolly observed that nobody was out on a Saturday night because everyone had stayed at home to tune into Rock's Netflix special. Meanwhile, Teri McClain stated he was "outraged" by Smith and Rock's desire to profit from the Oscars slap, claiming the duo were using it to simply keep themselves in the spotlight.
Elsewhere, Heath Corson chose to ponder the "seismic" shift in how Netflix will deliver its in-house content to its 220 million-plus subscriber base in years to come.
Chris Rock’s Live special was seismic for Netflix. Not for content, but for the live feature that now opens them up for sports, events, political debates, or award shows. It’s a shot across the bow at broadcast. I figure they’ll announce a late night block any minute.March 5, 2023
Netflix isn't the only big streamer to try its hand at beaming live shows into homes worldwide. Disney Plus pipped its streaming rival to the post with its live broadcast of Elton John's Farewell From Dodger Stadium concert in November 2022, while Peacock has been able to stream live English Premier League matches weekly as part of parent company NBC's US-exclusive TV rights package for years now.
Clearly, then, Netflix is playing catch-up on this front. Regardless of whether fans liked or didn't like Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, though, one thing is clear: Netflix live broadcasts are here to stay. How long will it be until one of the best Netflix shows' final episodes, such as Stranger Things season 5, debuts globally in a live capacity? We'll have to wait and see.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
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