Slap and tickle

One slap. That’s all it took to out trend Vladimir Putin last weekend. It seems everyone has an opinion on “the incident” at the Academy Awards when a short time before receiving his Oscar for best actor, Will Smith, one of the biggest stars in the world, decided that comedian Chris Rock had gone too far with a comment made about his wife, Jada Pinkett.

I strongly believe that comedy should not be censored by anyone except the person writing and performing it, but let’s be clear about this, what Chris Rock did on Sunday night was not, as he claimed, a joke about the movie G I Jane.

The cardinal rule of comedy is that you always punch up, never down. Making fun of a medical condition that is well documented as having caused the person you’re targeting considerable mental anguish is not funny, it’s mean spirited mocking and Rock is way too experienced as a stand up not to know the difference.

This was not Ricky Gervais level edgy, (his response to the controversy was hilarious) it wasn’t a pithy roasting or takedown of the self obsession of celebrity culture, it was a deliberate attempt to humiliate someone in front of a worldwide audience thinking he was safe on the stage and it backfired spectacularly.

The bitch slap says it all, rather than a clenched fist. It turned the tables and Rock was the one left humiliated.

And deservedly so. He should be ashamed, but instead he has become a victim.

There’s a huge difference between making a joke about alopecia and singling out a member of your audience suffering from it to mock them. One is comedy, the other is bullying.

And the way to deal with bullies, whether they are on a stage, in school, a street corner or in the Kremlin is to slap them down.

Would he have cracked a joke at Peter Dinklage’s expense? I doubt it!

Meanwhile Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (no doubt before they could expel him) describing his actions in a statement at the end of the week as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”

The only thing Smith did wrong is in apologising to the comedian on Tuesday. He said all that needed to be said to the people who witnessed it in his acceptance speech and “keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g mouth” was more than enough for Chris Rock because one of the US’s top stand up comics did not simply misjudge the situation. He is by no means the innocent party in this.

Smith has taken the bulk of the flack for obvious reasons, but he was defending his wife, something any spouse has the right to expect regardless of whether she’s perfectly capable of decking Rock herself.

When Denzel is firmly in your corner, you can feel pretty comfortable about whether or not you’re in the right.

And if violence is never the answer, well, without it Ukraine would be Russian by now.

I wonder what Putin thinks about it all. He seems to be the only person who hasn’t been asked so far.

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£12.5million raised from last week’s Concert for Ukraine is nothing to sneeze at, but with no time to waste, Sir Rod Stewart decided there was a more productive way to help than watching a 77-year old singing Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.

Fresh from unloading a lorry of hardcore to fill the potholes in the road leading to his Essex mansion himself, he paid for four trucks then got his nephews and chauffeur to drive them to the Polish border and pick up refugees as they crossed from Ukraine.

Quicker and infinitely more preferable than listening to Camilla Cabello.

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During the week a pushing 96-year old lady found the strength from somewhere to overcome her growing mobility issues and attend a memorial service for her dear husband of more than 70 years.

Meanwhile her waster of an entitled grandson stayed in his new California home with his wife and two children who have yet to meet their great granny, their uncle and aunt or their cousins.

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week

Tipping Point:

Q: Alabama, Alaska and which other US state begins and end in the letter A?

A: Florida

Edward Case

Columnist