A producer behind the scenes at this year’s Oscars has given some insight into the decision to limit the jokes made about the major talking point from the 2022 ceremony – The Slap.
While giving his opening monologue for the 2023 Academy Awards on Sunday (12 March), presenter Jimmy Kimmel revisited the extraordinary incident and told those present why there would be no repeats this time around.
However, there were some additional jokes that were written about the Smith-Rock moment that didn’t make it to the final script.
Molly McNearney, an executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Kimmel’s wife, explained that the writing team made a choice to restrict the number of jokes made about the moment as they didn’t want to dwell on the past.
“We didn’t want to make this year all about last year,” McNearney told Variety.
“I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it.”
She added that some of the gags that didn’t make the cut were a little more risqué, but chose to leave them out to allow Rock to share his take on the incident himself.
“There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that,” McNearney noted. “That should be Chris Rock, not us.”
Elsewhere in her interview with the publication, McNearney shared that Kimmel’s opening speech was subject to change up to five minutes before he went on stage.
“We had two versions of the monologue,” she said. “One if Rihanna was in her seat, one if she was not in her seat. One if Rihanna had her baby on her lap, which she wanted to do. And one if her baby was not on her lap.
“A lot of our jokes were kind of at the mercy of people being in their seats.”
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