Chris Rock Punchline Flub Edited Out of Live Netflix Stand-up Special

10 March 2023

Turns out what’s live on Netflix doesn’t always last. Less than a week after the Chris Rock live stand-up comedy special “Selective Outrage” premiered on the streamer — its first live broadcast of any kind — a flub from the comedian has now been removed from the special.

In the special, Rock discussed his longstanding feud with actors and married couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. One incident he touched on was the 2016 Oscars ceremony, which Pinkett Smith boycotted (along with others) due to a lack of diversity among the nominees. Rock hosted the ceremony, and joked about Pinkett Smith’s absence during his monologue, saying, “Jada said she’s not coming, protest. I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s going to boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!”

In “Selective Outrage,” Rock further discussed the 2016 Oscars, claiming Pinkett Smith told him he shouldn’t host because Smith wasn’t nominated for his sports drama “Concussion.” When retelling the story for last weekend’s live broadcast, Rock instead referenced “Emancipation,” which was released in fall 2022.

“Years ago, his wife said I should quit the Oscars — I shouldn’t host ’cause her man didn’t get nominated for ‘Emancipation,’ the biggest piece of shit ever!” Rock said in the special. He followed up with: “No, not ‘Emancipation.’ I fucked up the joke.”

The joke has since been edited out of the replay version of “Selective Outrage” found on Netflix. Instead, the special now skips over the moment to Rock’s following joke, in which he calls out the right film: “She said that me, a fucking grown-ass man, should quit his job because, ‘My husband didn’t get nominated for ‘Concussion.””

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, decisions to edit “Selective Outrage” after its broadcast were given to Rock, meaning the comedian likely made the call to remove the line flub. Editing comedy specials to remove mistakes during the night are common, although the change happening to a live special makes this situation slightly unusual.

Rock did later (correctly) reference “Emancipation” during the closing minutes of the special, in which he responded to the now notorious altercation he got into with Smith during the 2022 Oscars. One of his Rock’s punchlines against Smith, who slapped the comedian on the Oscars stage last year after he made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s (who has alopecia) shaved head, was claiming he watched “Emancipation” — a drama about an enslaved man struggling to escape to freedom — “just to see [Smith] get whooped.”

“Selective Outrage” was a success when it premiered on Netflix last Saturday, ranking No. 7 on the streamer’s U.S. TV Top 10 list despite only being available for roughly a day of tracking. Reactions from critics were mixed; IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers gave it a “C-” rating and wrote in his review that the special “was in no way built to last. Half the jokes were obsolete before he finished saying them,” and that its material “felt like top-of-mind observations, uninterested in deeper scrutiny or even overall cohesiveness.”

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