the shot heard around the world II

Think we can agree if I wrote there were only two actors sharing the title “the nicest man in Hollywood.” When Will Smith walked up and slapped Chris Rock like he was an elderly Asian man, Tom Hanks was alone at the top.

There was a time when comedians were revered. Even when they made a bad joke, we’d grumble and dismiss it. They get invited to the Whitehouse and get a television series with their name on it. This was before Netflix and social media. You thought their special was amazing because “special” was in subtext. It was only Bob Hope and nine others. Now, the only difference between a comedian and troll on twitter is followers. Anyone and everyone is a comedian. Memes are reposted and shared. They get likes and it’s not even their joke! Comedians were influencers before the word existed.

To sum up how comedy works, it only works when you build enough credit. When a joke works, it’s +1. When it fails, -2. Bombing is when you end in the negatives. It’s gambling. Even when we learn to count cards, sitting on 20 might not be enough. Chris Rock had credits in his blue suede jacket pockets when he walked out on stage just because he’s Marty the zebra. His first joke about raw dogging air increased his credits. House money. He had so much credit, when he joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, Will Smith laughed.

Who would of thought other than Donald Trump, Will Smith (former nicest man in Hollywood) could divide your friends? Half were “defend this house!” and the other half were “assault!” Chris Rock had it coming. It was a bad unnecessary dated joke. The only people that got the G.I. Jane reference were the people there because it’s old. It’s like a 6th grader roasting another 6th grader in 1997.

Everything after bothered me. Chris Rock saying “it’s a G.I. Jane joke.” It wasn’t. Rock may have been bullied in his youth but he became one. It’s what got him famous. Not like Perez Hilton, but he’s always poked at celebrities. Will Smith should have been escorted out but the Academy knew it’d be more awkward if he accepted his oscar in the alley behind the theater or finding solace in the character of a tiger dad he portrayed, blame God, or just loving too hard.

I used to love comedy. Did it for 12 years. Loved it enough to stay and listen comics tell the same jokes for 12 years. During the pandemic, I had a chance to reflect on myself and my jokes. I started to hang with other people that are so different than me, accept me as is. It made me wonder about my loose lips and stream of consciousness and if they clicked through my content, be offended? When I’m bombing, it feels like drowning and I’ve reached for anything. Even the low hanging fruits. Even when I feel like I’ve evolved, I still have to grow. It’s easier to joke with ignorance than with empathy. Because it’s not funny knowing where the line is.

I’m glad that the old Batman slapping Robin meme is getting a makeover.

Yo! Can we get Chris Rock booked on Red Table Talk?

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Kevin Wong

Kevin Wong

Thoughts released here.

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