Chris Rock expected to address Will Smith Oscars slap in live Netflix special

The show will be broadcast one week before this year's Academy Awards

Will Smith slapped Rock in response to a joke the comedian made about the closely cropped hair of Smith's his wife, Jada Pinkett, who has alopecia. AFP
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Chris Rock's live Netflix special will be broadcast a week before the Oscars, the streaming platform said on Tuesday, raising expectations that the comedian will address the shocking moment he was slapped by Will Smith during last year's Hollywood awards show.

On Saturday, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage will become the first event to be shown in real time on Netflix, accompanied by pre and post-show entertainment featuring celebrities from Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer to Paul McCartney and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Netflix did not comment on the material of Rock's show, but the comedian has spent much of the past year touring stand-up venues around the world with a routine that has included jokes about "The Slap."

Last March, Smith climbed on to the Oscars stage and slapped Rock across the face in response to a joke made about the closely cropped hair of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett, who has alopecia.

Rock was asked by Los Angeles police at the time whether he wanted to file a report against Smith, but he declined, and he has not publicly addressed the incident outside of his stand-up shows since.

"March 4 will be a hilarious evening, with an incredible set from Chris Rock — one of the greatest stand-ups of all-time — and contributions from an amazing line-up of special guests," said Robbie Praw, Netflix's comedy vice-president.

"Our goal is to deliver the best stand-up comedy to our members and this live-streaming event further reinforces all the ways we continue to invest in the genre."

Netflix has lured millions of viewers away from traditional broadcast television, but it lost subscribers for the first time last year. The company, which has since returned to growth, has been experimenting with various new models, including live content.

The streaming company already hosts a live comedy festival at more than 35 venues in Los Angeles, though those shows have not yet been available in real time on its platform.

From next year, Netflix will broadcast the Screen Actors Guild Awards — an important pre-Oscars ceremony — live on its platform.

According to several reports, the company is also looking into offering live sports on its platform. Rivals including Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video already offer live events including sports and music.

Saturday's comedy show will be Rock's second for Netflix, after the pre-recorded 2018 Chris Rock: Tamborine.

The 95th Academy Awards take place this year on March 12.

Scroll through the images below of this year's Best Picture Oscar nominees

Updated: March 01, 2023, 8:42 AM