We’ve now reached the part of The Slap where former Oscars host Billy Crystal is weighing in on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock live on stage after the comedian told a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. Of course, Crystal brings a unique perspective to the situation given his background as a fellow comedian, and the fact that he’s hosted the Academy Awards nine times. He’s also a three-time Grammy host, so it’s safe to say Crystal knows a thing or two about how these productions go down.
While appearing on Bob Costa’s HBO Max show, Back on the Record, Crystal offered his blunt assessment of The Slap. “[A] most disturbing incident, for sure. It was an assault,” Crystal said. “I’ve had experiences. I hosted the Grammys three times and I’ve been thrown things.”
According to Crystal, The Slap is a prime example of why it’s always good to have a host for these awards shows to move things along and/or capitalize on the moment. Via Deadline:
Crystal maintained that having a host brings an element of control to an event.
“I sort of set myself up to host the show, really host the show, so you can tie it together. So, whenever I see shows that it’s a no-host show, yeah, it went faster, but there’s nobody there to capitalize on anything and give the audience the feeling of there’s somebody in charge.”
What Crystal is describing is essentially what Rock did even though he wasn’t technically one of the three hosts for the evening. Rock has received praise from Whoopi Goldberg, who often hosted the Oscars alongside Crystal, for being “the adult” in the room and not escalating the situation. In fact, Goldberg believes Rock’s cool demeanor saved Smith from even further trouble.