"This war on jokes must end": Bill Maher slams Will Smith over Oscar slap as he extends support to comedians via Explaining Jokes to Idiots segment

Bill Maher condemned Will Smith's Oscars slap once again in his Explaining Jokes to Idiots segment (Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images and Myung Chun/Getty Images)
Bill Maher condemned Will Smith's Oscars slap once again in his Explaining Jokes to Idiots segment (Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images and Myung Chun/Getty Images)

Bill Maher recently revived the Explaining Jokes to Idiots segment on his show, Real Time with Bill Maher, to discuss Will Smith and Chris Rock’s Oscars fiasco while extending his support towards comedians.

The TV host closed his show on Friday by breaking down Rock’s G.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith and condemned Will Smith once again for slapping the comedian during the 2022 Oscars ceremony.


Bill Maher also mentioned that comedians have been “under attack” in recent times, and he decided to address Smith’s Oscar controversy “one more time” with the aim of standing up for his “tribe.” The commentator also told viewers that the “war on jokes” should come to an end.

A look into Bill Maher’s Explaining Jokes to Idiots segment

Bill Maher defended comedians in light of the Will Smith x Chris Rock Oscars controversy (Image via John Shearer/WireImage)
Bill Maher defended comedians in light of the Will Smith x Chris Rock Oscars controversy (Image via John Shearer/WireImage)

On March 9, Bill Maher closed the New Rules segment of his HBO show with a revived edition of Explaining Jokes to Idiots to analyze Will Smith’s Oscar slap controversy.

The host mentioned that he uses the segment to “break down jokes for the humor impaired” while showing Smith’s photo from the Oscars on his screen. Maher shared that he is aware of people being “sick” of hearing about the slap, but decided to discuss the incident to stand against the attack on comedians. He said,

“Now, I know we're all sick of talking about the slap, but I'm sorry, one more thing needs to be said. Comedians have been under attack for quite some time and I need to stick up for my tribe. This war on jokes must end.”

The 66-year-old further announced that he was set to “Zapruder film this thing once and for all,” indicating he would attempt to break the slap controversy through a silent picture sequence to “explain jokes to idiots.”

Shortly after, Maher went near the screen with a pointer and displayed the Oscars slapping incident using a series of photos. He then explained terms like “crowd work,” “spritzed,” and “some sh*t is like other sh*t joke” to the audience.

Bill Maher went on to defend Chris Rock’s G.I Jane joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head and said,

“He said to Jada Smith, ‘Jada, can't wait for G.I. Jane II,’ recalling the late 90s movie starring Demi Moore. That's it. That's the joke. You remind me of some other beautiful, buzz-cutted movie star.”

He also clarified that Rock did not intend to make the about Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. He claimed,

“It wasn't an alopecia joke anymore more than the one about the chicken crossing the road is about bird flu.”

Bill Maher mentioned that Rock’s joke was “not an insult” even though “insult humor is a staple of comedy.” He also used an example of insult humor from the Oscars night, citing a joke made by Amy Schumer about Timothee Chalamet’s run-down looks at the expense of JK Simmons. Maher said,

“But that's where it ended! It's called being a good sport, especially when you're a rich celebrity. Let the common people take the p*ss out of you for one stinking minute.”

The Politically Incorrect alum then noted that Chris Rock’s joke was initially received as “funny” by the audience, including Will Smith, who was initially spotted laughing at the quip.

Bill Maher also said that the moment was a “live-action real-time encapsulation of how cancel culture works,” referring to the sudden change of Smith’s reaction as a result of his wife’s look of disappointment. He said,

“Jada shoots her husband a look… before this moment Will is laughing because he hasn’t yet found out that his original genuine reaction is wrong and that he should conform to a different view. And he’s the one who is being manly?”

Maher continued to call out Smith for his actions and also criticized the Academy for allowing the King Richard star to remain seated inside the Dolby Theatre throughout the event. He said,

“I've seen the same syndrome happen in comedy clubs. Woke hecklers who literally have to wait for the laughter to die down before they yell, ‘That’s not funny!' This war on jokes must end. Will Smith didn't get kicked out of the Oscars for going Ike Turner on Chris, but Kevin Hart got kicked out of hosting it for a joke.”

The Emmy Award-winner also remembered that several comedians like Gilbert Gottfried and Kathy Griffin have been “fired or lost their gigs for exercising their freedom of expression” and being “tasteless.” Maher said,

“So what? That’s why we like them! Comedians are the ones testing where the line is.”

He continued to name comedians like Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, and Roseanne, and admitted that “all comedians are a little crazy,” while stating that “you need crazy on that wall.”

In another dig towards Will Smith, Bill Maher said that the actor was not pulled off stage after slapping Chris Rock, but comedian Nimesh Patel was pulled off stage during a 2018 performance at Columbia University for making a joke about the struggles of being Black and a part of the LGBTQ community.

Bill Maher further claimed that the people who fail to understand jokes are not “old ladies” but “Gen Z in elite colleges.” He also said that children currently go to college to “lose their sense of humor.” The TV host also highlighted the growing need to edit out jokes to avoid controversies and said,

“Soon there will be nothing to joke about but airline food and Starbucks getting your name wrong.”
It’s a good thing George Carlin is dead because today, the seven words you can’t say on TV are “Jada, can’t wait for “G.I. Jane 2.”

Maher ended his show with another humorous jibe at Will Smith’s Oscars controversy. He said that it is a “good thing” comedy legend George Carlin is dead because the seven words comedians cannot say on TV now are “‘Jada, Can't wait for G.I. Jane 2.’”

Bill Maher’s latest comments on Will Smith come after the Academy announced its decision to ban the actor from the organization and related events, including the Oscars, for 10 years.

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Edited by Sabika
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