There were jokes about Smith before the special even started, with pre-show guest Arsenio Hall making a crack that “Smith might slap a TV tonight,” but there were refreshingly few references to him for most of Rock’s set until his concluding diatribe. This was his chance to put an end to the entire beef, but instead he went scorched earth, making fun of the fact that Smith was a much larger and stronger man who plays athletes and heroes, insinuating that Smith might not have slapped him if he weren’t such a weak, easy target. That’s relatively tame compared to what comes next, which is Rock going on at length about the pair’s open marriage, alleging that Pinkett-Smith was having an affair with one of her son’s friends. He then comments on how that must hurt Will, and that “she hurt him way more than he hurt me.” Even if he’s angry about being hit on national television, airing all of the couple’s dirty laundry during a Netflix special feels exceptionally petty.
That’s not the end of it, either, as Rock goes on to list everyone who called Smith a “b****” in response to the slap, reiterating the difference in size, social status, and power between them. It feels like a kid on the playground listing everyone who thinks his nemesis is a loser, which is honestly kind of sad coming from a grown man in his 50s who used to be one of comedy’s sharpest minds.