Entertainment And News

5 Times Chris Rock's Jokes Offended People & Provoked Backlash

Photo: Ovidiu Hrubaru | Everett Collection | Shutterstock
Chris Rock Controversial Comments

After receiving a quick slap to the face by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock found himself in quite the PR nightmare, but this isn’t the first time Rock has been under fire for his jokes. The comedian's actions have put him in a pickle multiple times over the years — particularly with Jada Pinkett Smith. 

Here are some of the most controversial jokes Chris Rock has said that didn't go over well with his fans:

1. Chris Rock joked that Jada Pinkett Smith wasn't invited to the 2016 Oscars (when she was actually boycotting the event).

While Rock has been making the headlines everywhere in 2022 thanks to his G.I. Jane joke at the Oscars, this wasn’t the first time he cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.

According to Entertainment Tonight, he joked about Pinkett Smith back at the Oscar ceremony in 2016 when she and husband Will Smith had boycotted the Oscars.

RELATED: Chris Rock Had A History Of Making Jokes About Jada Pinkett-Smith Before Will Smith’s Oscars Slap

Pinkett Smith uploaded a video to her Facebook page where she was disappointed with the lack of diversity in the Oscars. "Have we now come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgment, or respect of any group,” she said.

“That maybe it's time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in a way that we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power? I'm simply asking the question."

Rock then made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s absence. He said, "Jada said she's not coming. I was like, 'Isn't she on a TV show?' Jada's gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!"

A People source speculated that Smith was still angry about the 2016 joke, so it may have contributed to his emotional reaction to Rock's 2022 Oscars joke, where he walked on stage and slapped Rock across the face.

The source said, "When Chris hosted the Oscars in 2016, Jada was boycotting because of 'Oscars So White.' In his monologue, he made fun of her, saying she can't boycott something she wasn't invited to. Will was still mad about that."

However, Chris Rock ended the 2016 Oscars on a more serious note, offering his perspective on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy "It's not about boycotting anything, it's just we want opportunity. We want the Black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That's it." His monologue garnered praise from celebrities like Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres and Amy Schumer following the ceremony. 

RELATED: Will Smith’s Abusive Childhood & His Desire ‘To Protect People’ May Explain That Chris Rock Slap At The Oscars

2. Chris Rock shared an insensitive meme and comment about Whitney Houston's drug use on his Instagram page.

Photo: Chris Rock/Instagram

In 2019, Rock shared a now-deleted meme about the late singer on his Instagram account. According to Yahoo, the meme consisted of a picture of Houston who seemed uninterested in giving an interview.

The meme also had the text: "Me sitting in a meeting that could’ve been an email.” In addition, Rock added a caption to the post, “Hurry up I got crack to smoke.”

Houston’s drug problems were well known and she had been to rehab multiple times, so, Rock’s joke didn’t sit well with many who felt the meme was insensitive and tasteless. 

Bobby Brown, who had been married to Whitney Houston, posted several comments criticizing Rock, saying, “During this time of women empowerment you chose to use your time to try and humiliate our QUEEN!!!” 

According to Pop Culture, many of his followers had mixed reactions to his post. While some followers took it in a light-hearted manner, some were quite upset and angry at him.

One user wrote, "Chris you know better.. you shouldn't speak ill of the dead or make fun of someone's addiction." Another user wrote, "This is how you speak on the dead? Make better content."

Although Bobby Brown later said that he never received an apology from Chris Rock, he insisted they were still on good terms, explaining, "He's still my boy ... He just made a mistake with the joke, and um, it just didn’t work too well for him or how I was feeling at the time."

RELATED: People Think Will Smith & Chris Rock Staged The Oscars Slap As Part Of A Big Pharma Conspiracy

3. Chris Rock joked about his history of infidelity and addiction to adult films in his stand-up special.

In his 2018 standup special, Tamborine, Chris Rock joked about his addiction to adult films and cheating on his wife. According to Entertainment Weekly, he performed jokes about how his addiction affected his married life.

“I was addicted to p-rn. When you watch too much, you know what happens? You become, like, sexually autistic. You develop sexual autism,” he said.

He further mentioned that he cheated on his wife and had slept with three other women during their marriage. 

Although he was joking about these personal afflictions, he openly acknowledged that he had been in the wrong and admitted to being a changed man.

He said, “It’s my fault…I didn’t listen. I wasn’t kind. I had an attitude, I thought, ‘I pay for everything, I can do what I want.’”

He also spoke up in an interview with CBS about how he has been going to therapy after the pandemic to address and work on his past issues.

RELATED: Fans Are Dredging Up Zoe Kravitz’s Controversial Past After She Condemned Will Smith For Hitting Chris Rock

4. Chris Rock and Louis CK joked around using the n-word multiple times in a recently-resurfaced video.

A 2011 video clip of Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ricky Gervais chatting resurfaced on the internet later in 2018. According to HuffPost, Rock and CK are joking around in the video, however, both are heard using the n-word multiple times.

Rock first referred to CK as "the blackest white guy I f—ing know," after which CK replied, "You’re saying I’m a n—?”. While they were both laughing and joking, Seinfeld seemed to be getting uncomfortable. Seinfeld further mentioned, “I wouldn’t use it anywhere.”

This video clip received a lot of backlash from internet users, with numerous tweets and posts regarding the matter. 

RELATED: Will Smith’s Apology To Chris Rock Should Be Enough For Us To Stop Punishing Him For The Infamous Oscars Slap

5. Chris Rock cracked a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss at the 2022 Oscars, resulting in a quick face-slap on-stage from her husband, Will Smith.

Chris Rock earning a slap from Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars ceremony has become a trending topic everywhere. After Rock joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, it wasn't well-received by the couple. 

Smith was unable to control his anger with the comedian, so he unexpectedly walked up to the stage and smacked Rock across the face in front of hundreds of attendees and millions of viewers watching the show live on TV and streaming services.

In the now-infamous joke, Rock said, “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you.” His comment was a reference to Pinkett Smith’s recently-shaved head.

However, the reason behind her cutting off her hair was because she was diagnosed with Alopecia — an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Pinkett-Smith had previously been open about it and talked about the emotional struggles of losing her hair.

Prior to the Oscars, Pinkett Smith posted an emotional video on her Instagram about her newly shaved head, saying, "Now at this point I can only laugh," and commenting, "Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!"

She also detailed the emotional rollercoaster of her hair journey in a storytime on TikTok just a week before the awards ceremony. "Being a Black woman and dealing with hair in Hollywood," said Pinkett Smith, "... that was really challenging." She ended the post talking about the freedom she feels now with her hair shaved, confidently declaring, "I don’t give two craps what people think about this bald head of mine, because guess what? I love it."

Katie Hale, who has Alopecia, spoke with ABC News about her experience listening to the joke performed by Chris Rock, "It brings up those little trauma responses that constantly happen, and I don't think people quite realize how front-of-mind this is in terms of people who've got alopecia, and that this is an everyday experience."

Some people on social media also brought up the 2009 documentary, Good Hair, which was narrated and co-written by Chris Rock — people wondered why he performed the joke in the first place already understanding the history and significance of hair in the Black community. 

And others were upset because of Chris Rock's working relationship with Smith and Pinkett-Smith — Rock previously worked with Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and with Jada Pinkett-Smith on Madagascar.

Fans all over social media have been tweeting and sharing memes about what happened, and although there's been outrage over the joke itself, many devoted fans believe Chris Rock was the victim — not the aggressor.  

In a heartfelt Instagram post, Will Smith apologized to The Academy, producers, attendees and the Williams family the day following the ceremony, however not to Rock himself so far. And Chris Rock explained to audience members at his live show in Boston that he is "still processing" the incident.

RELATED: Chris Rock Opens Up About Being Sexually Assaulted By School Bullies In Resurfaced Interview

Sanika Nalgirkar, M.F.A. is a writer who covers entertainment & news, lifestyle, and pop culture topics.

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