Oscar slap: Nigerian comedian, entertainers disagree over taunting jokes

The most trending highlight of the 94th Academy Awards has been the slap Will Smith gave popular comedian, Chris Rock, in an apparent effort to defend his wife, Jada Pinkett.

Rock was said to be making a joke about Jada Pinkett when Smith suddenly walked up to the Oscars stage and slapped him.

The attack was seen by a global audience watching the widely craved awards on Monday evening.

While some people hailed Smith for standing up for his family, other people including the Academy condemned Smith’s action.


However, the actor tendered a public apology following his conduct during the event.

In Nigeria, entertainers, among others, whose personal experiences had been used as a reference point to crack jokes to make people laugh tended to embrace the development.

Notably among the reactions was that of ace musician, Paul Okoye, aka Kingrudy, who said Smith’s action had opened doors for some people in Nigeria.

Using his handle, Iamkingrudy, he said, “Naija comedians go calm down a bit. Will Smith don open doors for some people. Pls do not allow yourself to be used as Naija version of the Oscars.”

Similarly, media personality, Ubi Franklin, called out popular comedian, Abovi Ugboma, aka Bovi, for referencing his children while making a joke on national TV.

He said, “This is the way now, you yab me we get on it straight. Or you yab me and I yab you with receipts of the things the world don’t know right on my page here and we will go anywhere you want from there.

“Comedy should not be used as a decoy to disrespect people on National TV. BOVI, you did this at last year’s “Headies” and I sent your friends and close (allies) to warn you, do not try it again. I am struggling with stuff and trying to put myself together and you go on live TV to talk about my kids? BOVI? Until next time.”

Reacting to the development, comedian, Otaghware Onodjayeke, popularly known as Igosave, described comedy as a tool used in correcting social vices.

He said, “I am not a fan of very sensitive jokes and I don’t support violence in any way. Sometimes, as a comedian, you try to use present happenstances to make joke. I want to commend Will Smith for standing for his family.

“Yeah the joke might be below the belt but Chris and Williams are friends. If I were in his shoes, maybe I would have waited for the show to end and tell him I don’t like this kind of joke, you know my wife is going through this but you know human beings differ. He (Smith) couldn’t hold it.

“But some of our celebrities that have not trended for long, they are beginning to come out, to tweet and instigate Nigerians against Nigerian comedian. They said with what has happened, hope Nigerian comedians have learnt and that nah to dey slap comedians now.”

While acknowledging Rock’s professionalism for not retaliating against Smith’s attack, the comedian, however, noted that if he was attacked in such a manner, the show would end abruptly.

He added, “One of our friends even brought up an old issue about a comedian making joke about his children. A comedian made a joke of you two years ago and na today you remember to talk am because you want to trend and be in the news so that brands can endorse you.

“Comedy is what we use in correcting social ills, so if you give girl belle and you abandon the girl and the girl con born and you didn’t support the girl and you abandon her with the child, we must use you to crack joke.

“So that next time other people wey suppose be like you, wey go con born children come life con abandon dem, dem go use condom and una wey dey say nah to dey slap comedian for stage, it is wrong to incite people against comedians.

“If you are saying that that means Buhari go don kill all of us because everybody don curse Buhari that he is sick and not fit and has gone to London. Yes, I appreciate Chris Rock sey e no retaliate, but for me, show go close o, dem go just do closing prayer make everybody go house.”