Marlon Wayans On Making An Hour-Long HBO Special About Will Smith And Chris Rock's "Slapgate"

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Marlon Wayans: God Loves Me Private Dinner
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 01: Marlon Wayans attends the Marlon Wayans: God Loves Me Private Dinner at Sei Less on March 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
"The purpose of this is more healing than it is deconstruction," he claims.

Over a year may have passed since Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards. Yet, the internet can't help but continue the discussion. Most recently, Marlon Wayans made the "slapgate" controversy a central point in his March 2nd HBO special, God Loves Me. During this hour-long special, the comedian dedicates his stage time to discussing Rock and Smith, both of whom he considers to be buddies. Ultimately, his set goes far beyond just the shock of the confrontation and dives deep into comedy, mental health, and working in an industry dominated by white males.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the 50-year-old explains why he chose "slapgate" as his topic for the special. He notes how he had witnessed the ordeal, and discussed the aftermath at a show in Oxnard just a few days later. Although his thoughts initially amounted to a five-minute set, it quickly turned into 15 minutes. "I kept exploring the truth and it became like a Rubik’s cube to me," Wayans explained. "I got one side. That’s the Chris Rock side. I got what’s my experience with Jada, and then what’s my experience with Will. What’s my experience in the industry? What’s my experience as a Black person? What do white people feel? Before I knew it, I had an hour of material."

Wayans Refers To Smith and Rock As Friends

The White Chicks star also spoke on his connection to Smith, Rock, and Pinkett-Smith. His friendship with the involved parties made him question all perspectives on the matter. When asked what if he included either Smith's or Rock's involvement during the creation of this special, Wayans answered no. "I just hope they gauge and trust that I love them," he reflected. "That I’m being objective. I’m being honest. I’m being real. And that the purpose of this is more healing than it is deconstruction."

Throughout the interview, Wayans jumps from a variety of heavy topics but doesn't avoid displaying his respect for both actors. He notes Smith as the ultimate image of a Black man in Hollywood who refuses to fall into labels and refers to Rock as an inspiration. "He’s just a brilliant mind and a brilliant comedian, Wayans reflects. For more news on pop culture and hip hop, don't miss out on HNHH.

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