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Will Smith slap jokes were cut from Oscars 2023 for surprising reason - details

Will Smith struck Chris Rock over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith back in 2022

jimmy kimmel oscars
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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Although Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel made several jokes during Sunday’s ceremony about the infamous incident where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards, a producer for the prestigious awards show has revealed that there were originally going to be many jokes about the slap - but that they were ultimately removed.

Molly McNearney, a producer for the Academy Awards who is also Jimmy Kimmel’s wife, told Variety: "We didn’t want to make this year all about last year. I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of. We think that only the best for that room made it."

WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel riffs on Will Smith's infamous slap at the Oscars

She continued: "There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that. That should be Chris Rock, not us."

jimmy wife© Photo: Getty Images

Molly opened up about the jokes

In his opening monologue, Jimmy joked: "If anyone commits any act of violence, you will be awarded best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech. But seriously, if anything unpredictable or violent happens do what you did last year; nothing. Maybe give the assailant a hug."

chris rock slap© Photo: Getty Images

Will struck Chris at the 2022 Oscars

Chris finally spoke properly about the incident in his Netflix special Selective Outrage, where he joked: "I rooted for Will Smith my whole life… The other day, I watched ‘Emancipation’ just so I could watch him getting whipped."

MORE: Chris Rock confesses he was asked to host 2023's Oscars - see his response

MORE: Chris Rock shares exciting personal news after Will Smith's emotional apology video

Molly also revealed that they had to change some jokes depending on the night, adding: "We had two versions of the monologue. One if Rihanna was in her seat, one if she was not in her seat. One if Rihanna had her baby on her lap, which she wanted to do. And one if her baby was not on her lap. A lot of our jokes were kind of at the mercy of people being in their seats."

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