Even if there wasn’t a slap on Sunday, Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes slapped.
The 55-year-old late-night host opened the 2023 Oscars with a monologue that took a swipe at Will Smith — and he continued to take jabs at him all night.
Taking to the Dolby Theatre’s stage, the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host arrived by dropping in via parachute and then dropped jokes about many of the A-listers seated in the auditorium.
Of course, Kimmel referenced last year’s infamous slap between Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock in his monologue.
“Five Irish actors are nominated tonight — which means the odds of another fight again onstage just went way up,” Kimmel said.
But he didn’t stop there — he also poked fun at the fact that Smith picked up an Oscar award for “Best Actor” in the movie “King Richard” after the slap.
“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.” Kimmel joked. “Seriously, the Academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year. Nothing. 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 gonna be easy.”
He then made a nod to those sitting in the audience, joking that you would have to get through the star of “Spiderman” and other Oscar nominees to get past him if you suddenly felt the urge to jump on stage and slap someone.
“There are a few my friends are going to have to get through first,” Kimmel said. “You’re going to get have to get through the heavyweight champ, Adonis Creed, before you get to me. You’re gonna have to battle with Michelle Yeoh before you get to me. You’re gonna have the beat the Mandalorian before you get to me. You’re gonna have to tangle with Spiderman. You are gonna have to tangle with Fableman.”
The comedian continued, joking about his sidekick on his late-night talk show, Guillermo Rodriguez.
“And then, you’re gonna have to go through my right-hand man, Guillermo, if you wanna get up to this stage,” Kimmel said. “The other Guillermo, not del Toro. I know he’s cute, but make no mistake, you even so much as wave at me, that sweet little man will be the Lydia Tar out of you.”
He then said that the show would be “no-nonsense” and have “no time for shenanigans.”
Later on while introducing presenters for best documentary, he took yet another crack at Smith.
“Put your hands together or at least keep them to yourselves,” he joked.
He opened the monologue by making a joke about Ozempic, a diabetic drug that many suspect has been sweeping Hollywood in recent months since a known side effect is weight loss.
Kimmel chided, “When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder, is Ozempic right for me?”
During the monologue, he also poked fun at Nicole Kidman for her emergence from “AMC”, and labeled Seth Rogen and Steven Spielberg as the “Joe and Hunter Biden of Hollywood.” He also shouted out Nick Cannon and his 12 kids, poking fun at the amount of money that “Avatar” cost to make.
“Disney spent $2 billion on this movie, and just to break even, all of Nick Cannon’s kids had to see ‘Avatar’ for time,” Kimmel said.
As he wrapped it all up, he was joined by performers from the 2022 film movie “RRR,” joking that they would follow anyone offstage if they speak too long.
Ahead of the show, Kimmel was asked if he would even dare touch the subject of the slap heard ’round the world — when Will Smith, 54, cracked 94th Academy Awards presenter Chris Rock, 58, in the face after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.
“Well, whatever I say about it, it’s going to have to be great, right?” he told The Hollywood Reporter last week. “Because so much has been said and there’s so much focus on it. I obviously don’t want to make the whole monologue about that, but it would be ridiculous not to mention it.”
The funnyman was also asked what he would do if another slap occurred, and hilariously explained it would depend on who laid the smackdown.
“You mean, if somebody comes up on the stage and slaps me?” he said. “Well, I size them up, and, if I’m bigger than they are, I beat the s–t out of them on television. And if it’s the Rock, I run.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences previously shared that they planned to have a “crisis team” on standby to prevent any live ruckus, but had intentions to address the incident in some manner.
“We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on,” Oscars executive producer Molly McNearney said last week. “We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion.”
Since Kimmel had previously hosted the show twice — in 2017 and 2019 — the Academy brought him on to prevent any live mishaps.
“It’s so important to have a host who knows how to handle live television and a live audience,” Academy CEO Bill Kramer said. “He’s funny, he’s respectful, his edges aren’t too sharp.”
Kimmel, though, told THR that while he was planning on retiring, he took on Oscar hosting duties anyway because if you “catch me at the right moment, you can get me to sign almost anything.
“I go from a hot to cold very quickly,” he said at the time. “I’m sure on Sunday at midnight of the Oscars, I’ll be contemplating retirement again.”
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