Stand-Up Comics React to Chris Rock's New Special "Selective Outrage"

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Hot Takes on Chris Rock's Comedy Special and the Will Smith Oscars Slap

Date Posted:March 17, 2023

Author:Phil Jokeman

Join us as we make the rounds hearing what the biggest names in stand-up comedy have to say about Chris Rock's new stand-up comedy special, "Selective Outrage."

A Live Stream Comedy Special is a Ballsy Move

On "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast, Bert Kreischer expresses his admiration for Chris Rock's ability to a stand-up comedy live instead of pre-taping and editing it, a feat that he feels he could never do himself. Joe Rogan chimes in, discussing how Chris Rock, like Louis C.K., chose to release his latest stand-up special live on his website before editing and releasing a full version. They then discuss Rock's controversial bit about the Will Smith Oscars slap, with Rogan pointing out that there can be consequences for anyone who would try to physically attack a skilled comedian like Rock who took a year to work on his rebuttal in the form of "Selective Outrage"

In an interview, stand-up comedian Donnell Rawlins comments on the Chris Rock and Will Smith controversy, saying that it is unfair to dictate when someone should stop making a joke about a particular situation. Rawlins, who has toured with Rock, confirms that Rock was not just upset but furious over the slap incident and that Rock's family members wanted to retaliate against Smith. Rawlins criticizes Smith for putting Rock's family and children at risk with his action and suggests that if someone can take a slap, they should also be able to take a joke.

In a conversation on the "Boyscast" comedy podcast, Mark Normand comments on Chris Rock's latest stand-up special, saying that he preferred seeing it live rather than the aired version, which he found Chris Rock's delivery slightly dramatic. Ryan Long agrees, noting that when comedians become iconic, their cadence becomes part of their identity. They also discuss Rock's use of repetition and dramatic emphasis in his performance, with Danny Polischuk pointing out that the flubbed joke at the end of the special was particularly disappointing. They speculate that the special may be cut and re-released.

If You Can Take a Slap, You Can Take a Joke

On the "Legion of Skanks" comedy podcast, Luis J. Gomez reads a news article stating that Will Smith was hurt and embarrassed by Chris Rock's jokes about him and his family in Rock's Netflix special. Dave Smith and Big Jay Oakerson both express the opinion that Smith cannot really say anything about the jokes and must just take them, given his celebrity status and the line Will crossed with the slap. Smith's feelings may have been compounded by the fact that he has seen comments about the jokes all over social media. They discuss the line between acceptable and unacceptable humor in comedy and how comedians must be careful with their jokes, but also have the freedom to push boundaries.

Andrew Schulz discusses the idea of doing a live stand-up comedy show, saying that he would never do it himself. He believes that creating a gimmick to attract viewers to a special is a smart marketing strategy, but is unnecessary if there is already a hook or something unique that makes people want to tune in see it. He feels that Chris Rock already had a powerful hook with Will Smith Oscars slap and did not need the added pressure of doing a live show. Andrew suggests that Rock should have recorded a few shows, chosen the best one, or cut them together for the special, emphasizing that viewers are not watching to see if Rock gets the words right but to see his best performance and what he has to say about the Oscars slap incident.

On his podcast "The Monday Morning Podcast," comedian Bill Burr discusses wanting to watch Chris Rock's new comedy special, which he has heard rave reviews about from other comedians. He admires Rock's decision to perform the special live, which he thinks is ballsy because there is no editing and it is all done in one take. Burr notes that it is always great for stand-up comedy when one of the greatest comedians of all time puts out a highly regarded special, as it is good for everyone in the industry.

Being a Stand-Up Comedy Legend Comes With a Target On Your Back

On Howie Mandell's podcast, Jeff Ross talks about opening for Chris Rock at his live show in Baltimore and their recent appearance on TMZ, where they discussed the current state of comedy. Howie expresses his concern about the backlash that comedians face today and praises Rock's recent performance. Jeff explains that when comics rise in their profile, people outside of the comedy world will try to latch their cause onto them, leading to blowback. He believes that social media has amplified this phenomenon. Howie adds that he thinks the incident with Will Smith was the reason that another comedian felt it was okay to jump on stage at Dave Chappelle's set at the Hollywood Bowl.

At one of Marlon Wayans recent gigs, he talks about the Will Smith Oscars slap hinting that Will was having a great time at the Oscars, laughing at Chris' jokes until Jada Pinkett Smith (hypothetically) rolled her eyes during the joke where Will changed his tune to appease his wife when stopped laughing and declared that the joke was no longer funny.

During an interview, comedian Greg Fitzsimmons praises Chris Rock's new comedy special for its impressive production value, staging, lighting, and cameras. He also acknowledges Rock's preacher-like teeing up of premises, which some criticize, but Fitzsimmons finds endearing because of Rock's awkward, genuine demeanor. He also applauds Rock's bravery in discussing the Will Smith incident and thinks it was strong material.

Tom Segura and Christina P from "Your Mom's House" podcast discuss Chris Rock's new special. Tom says that it's crazy how all the best comedians are over 50 and that Chris Rock's latest special is his best in 20 years. He praises the set's energy and pace, as well as the level of the jokes. Tom also highlights Chris Rock's take on the Will Smith slap incident and how it was better than he would have imagined or done himself. Christina agrees and adds that the set was over an hour and forty minutes long, but Chris Rock kept up the pace through its entirety. They both agree that the special was provocative, thoughtful and loaded with jokes.

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