Following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and ensuing boycott that found many people demanding Chris Rock turn down his hosting gig at the 88th Academy Awards, Rock didn’t shy away from joking about unequal representation in Hollywood.
Opening by referring to the Oscars as the “White People’s Choice Awards,” Rock went on to skewer both Hollywood’s racism and Jada Pinkett Smith, the actress who headed the charge for the boycott after husband Will Smith was snubbed for Concussion.
“Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna‘s panties. I wasn’t invited,” Rock said to laughs and gasps. Rock was careful to point out that his separation from Rihanna’s panties does not mean he’s not interested, however.
Aside from Pinkett Smith, Rock also got some catch-in-your-throat laughs for his political joke about the “In Memoriam” section. “This year the ‘In Memoriam’ section is just gonna be black people shot by cops on the way to the movies,” Rock said.
The iconic comedian also took on those who said he should quit the gig. “How come it’s only unemployed people who tell you to quit something,” he said. “And I thought about it real hard. But they’re not going to cancel the Oscars. And the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart.”
Rock also questioned why it’s taken society so long to point out the inequality in the yearly Oscars. His guess is because in the past, “We had real things to protest at the time — we were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.”
Watch Rock skewer Jada Pinkett Smith via a Rihanna joke below.