What's in the News This Week: Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars
A Real Slap? Or Was it a WWE-Style Slap, a la Jerry "the King" Lawler Slapping Comedian Andy Kaufman?
There’s so much happening in the world today, it’s hard to find just one story to write about. There’s the growing threat that the war in Ukraine will escalate into full-blown World War III between the USA and Russia, both of whom have hundreds of nuclear missiles that are pointed at each other and ready to launch at a moment’s notice. There have also been dramatic increases in homelessness, crime, inflation, and other social ills. In light of all these problems, I’m so happy to see that the American public has it’s focus on what really matters: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars!
For the record, I don’t believe this was a real slap. I’m thinking it’s a ploy straight out of the WWE’s playbook: hype up an event by showcasing some sort of staged fisticuffs between participants. Legendary wrestler Jerry “the King” Lawler did it to comedian Andy Kaufman on David Letterman in 1982. More recently, the Big Show did it with Floyd Mayweather, and Braun Strowman did it with Tyson Fury.
Here’s a video below [embedded from YouTube] of Jerry “the King” Lawler vs Andy Kaufman on David Letterman:
Side note: the infamous slapping of Andy Kaufman by Jerry Lawler happened in 1982, which movie buffs may recall was the EXACT SAME YEAR that Uncle Rico (of Napoleon Dynamite fame) had his promising football career torpedoed by his coach’s decision not to play him in the big game. If only Rico would have had someone from his high school’s wrestling team slap him during a pep rally, no doubt the ensuing notoriety would have boosted his star power, and the coach would have felt compelled to let him play, perhaps even start. We can never know which NFL team missed out on the Super Bowl because they did not have Uncle Rico quarterbacking for them, all because he did not have some wrestler pretend to slap him and thereby create a media storm that would have brought Rico to the attention of big-time college scouts. Here’s the takeaway for aspiring athletes and entertainers who want to hit the big time: get into some crazy, manufactured melodrama in public, and use the ensuing notoriety to elevate your career.
Anyway, like most people, I had no idea the Oscars had even happened, until the infamous slapping incident started making the rounds on social media. I think that was precisely the point of it: get people to pay attention to the Academy Awards for once. Having top actors getting awards for their roles in blockbuster movies? Not enough for most folks to watch. Having a legendary comedian like Chris Rock host? Still not enough.
So what do you do? Orchestrate some drama and showcase a little choreographed violence to get people talking. It’s a technique that has worked pretty well for boxing and UFC promoters. And sure enough, it worked like a charm, and the otherwise irrelevant Academy Awards ceremony became the center of the twittering masses’ attention.
Here’s my suggestion for next year’s Oscars: have Conor McGregor host, have him talk plenty of funny shit about every single actor (which he would do anyway), give Floyd Mayweather some made-up honorary award, and then have Mayweather get into a fight with McGregor when he comes up to receive his award. If that’s not enough to get people to watch the Oscars, which is nothing more than a pointless professional awards ceremony for an industry that only 0.001% of Americans actually work in, and an industry which has turned some of its biggest-budget movie franchises into little more than soapbox platforms for a worldview that only 0.0001% of Americans share, I say again, if Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather II isn’t enough to get Americans to pay attention to the Academy Awards, then I don’t know what else would.
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