Oscars Producer Reveals Why ‘Harder’ Jokes About Will Smith Were Cut

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Molly McNearney, an executive producer for Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards ceremony, has explained why “harder” gags about Will Smith’s infamous slapping of Chris Rock at last year’s show were pulled.

“The Slap” was the subject of multiple gags but “we didn’t want to make this year all about last year,” McNearney, who is married to 2023 Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel, told Variety.

“I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of,” she revealed. “We think that only the best for that room made it.”

“There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that,” McNearney added. “That should be Chris Rock, not us.”

Rock has indeed hit back himself with his live Netflix special “Selective Outrage” that aired earlier in March, during which he quipped about still having “Summertime” ringing in his ears.