Chris Rock Spares No Punches as Oscar Host

by James Hibberd (E)

It was the most eagerly anticipated moment in recent Oscar history: Host Chris Rock’s opening monologue at the 88th Academy Awards. And the comedian did not hold back Sunday night. Rock used his entire opening to fire round after round at massive elephant in the room: the unprecedented controversy surrounding the lack of black nominees in the running for this year’s awards. (For the second year in a row, every acting nominee at the Oscars is white.)

As you might expect from Rock, who has a history of tackling divisive topics from unique vantage points, the comedian didn’t simply slam the Academy for a lack of diverse nominees, but made tackled the issue from various angles, including attempted to put the outrage into some historical perspective. Reaction online was largely extremely positive (though one joke did raise eyebrows).

Here are all of Rock’s #OscarsSoWhite jokes:

– “Man, I counted at least 15 black people in that montage.”

– “I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards.”

– “You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job! You’d all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”

– “No black nominees. People are like, ‘Chris you should boycott, Chris you should quit.’ How come it’s only unemployed people that tell you to quit something? … I thought about quitting. I thought about it really hard. But I realized they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. And the last thing I need is to to lose another job to Kevin Hart, okay?”

– “Why are we protesting this Oscars? It’s the 88thAcademy Awards, which means this ‘no black nominees’ thing happened at least 71 other times. You got to figure that it happened in the ’50s, in the ’60s. One of those years, Sidney [Poitier] didn’t put out a movie. I’m sure there were no black nominees some of those years, say ‘62 or ‘63. Black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematography. When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.” (Rock, by the way, is drawing some fire for this joke).

– “Everybody went mad [this year] … Jada [Pinkett Smith] got mad. Jada said she’s not coming. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

– “I understand you’re mad. I’m not hating. … Jada’s mad her man Will [Smith] was not nominated forConcussion. I get it … It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West, okay?”

– “This year, things are going to be a little different. This year, in the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies … yes I said it!”

– “If you want black nominees every year, you need to have black categories. That’s what you need. You already do it with men and women. Think about it: There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting. There’s no reason! It’s not track and field. You don’t have to separate them. Robert De Niro never said, ‘I should slow this acting down so Meryl Streep can catch up.’ No. Not at all. If you want black people every year at the Oscars, just have black categories. Like Best Black Friend. And the winner for the 18th year in a row is Wanda Sykes. This is Wanda’s 18th black Oscar.”

– “Everybody in the world wants to know: Is Hollywood racist? You got to go at that the right way. Is it burning-cross racist? Is it ‘fetch me some lemonade’ racist? It’s a different type of racist. The other night, I was at a fundraiser for president Obama, a lot of you were there … It’s all of Hollywood and there were four black people there: me, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Questlove. The usual suspects. … At some point you get to take a picture with the president. As they’re setting up the picture you get a little moment with the president. I’m like, ‘Mr. President, you see all these writers producers and actors, they don’t hire black people – and they’re the nicest white people on Earth.’ They’re liberals! Cheese … Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it’s not the racist you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’”

– “But things are changing. We got a black Rocky this year. Some people call it Creed; I call it Black Rocky. That’s an unbelievable statement, because Rocky takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. Rocky is a science fiction movie. There are things that happened in Star Wars that are more believable than what happened in Rocky.”

– “It’s not about boycotting anything, we want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it. Not just once. Leo gets a great part every year. All you guys get great parts all the time. But what about the black actors. Jamie Foxx is one of the best actors in the world. Jamie Foxx is so good in Ray that they went to the hospital and unplugged the real Ray Charles. They’re like, ‘We don’t need two of these.’”

– “Another big thing this year is you’re not to ask women what they’re wearing this year. You have to ‘ask her more’ … Hey everything’s not sexism, eveerything’s not racisim. They ask the men more because the men are wearing the same outfits. If George Clooney showed up with a lime green tux on, and a swan coming out of his ass, somebody would go, ‘What you wearing George?’”

Rock, who last hosted the ceremony in 2005, hasn’t shied from the subject since landing the gig, having helped kick the controversy into high gear last month with his tweet dubbing this year’s Oscars “The White BET Awards.”  The comedian also endured  somepressure to step down, with Furious 7 actor Tyrese Gibson claiming, “There is no joke that he can crack. There is no way for him to seize the moment and come into this thing and say, ‘I’m going to say this and say that I’m going to address the issue but then I’m still going to keep my gig as the host.’ The statement that you make is that you step down.”


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *