Chris Wallace Asks Chris Rock About Will Smith’s Slap At The Oscars

( CNN+ anchor Chris Wallace grilled famed comedic actor and well-known former Oscar host Billy Crystal about the slap Will Smith delivered to Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars and the joke that preceded it.

Mr. Crystal was Mr. Wallace’s guest on the newest edition of the failed CNN+ series Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace. The duo discussed Crystal’s career, current stage play, Mr. Saturday Night, and tenure as a popular and well-liked Academy Awards presenter.

Crystal expressed delight at having resurrected Oscar’s popularity when he took the helm in 1998. Inevitably, the issue of the slap heard ’round the globe came up.

Wallace began by bemoaning a bygone period of respect and inquiring about the joke that supposedly caused Mr. Smith to leave his seat and assault Mr. Rock onstage.

He then referenced the Oscars, and the slap heard ‘round the world, asking Crystal what he thought of it.

Crystal appeared uninterested, and Wallace assured him that they’d go through it fast. He said Crystal used to take verbal shots at the stars in attendance, but it was kind, loving, and you had this sense of this mutual respect and good fellowship on your side of the footlights and their side of the footlights.

Do you believe Chris Rock’s joke about G.I. Jane was over the line? Wallace inquired.

Crystal said he felt it wasn’t a great joke and questioned why Rock went after her. He thought it was inappropriate.

He said he likes Chris Rock, and they are buddies, and he truly respects him but thought it was wrong.

Wallace asked if he saw it live. Crystal said that he did.

Wallace wanted to know what Crystal thought when Will walked toward the stage.

Crystal said he thought, “Uh, oh. Uh-oh.”

He said it was an awful event and was a crime. The fortunate thing was it wasn’t a closed fist because then you may have had a Kermit Washington/Rudy Tomjanovich (a basketball reference) when he just annihilated him.

He felt Rock managed himself as well as he could and kept it together. It was a surprising time, and I was concerned about the mental condition of Smith.

“That’s what, I was kind of very worried and concerned and shocked by the aftermath of that, too,” Crystal said.