Humor often functions as a band-aid for moments in life that create grief. Marlon Wayans is looking to provide a comedic spin on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars in his forthcoming HBO Max special God Loves Me.
“I was doing a show in Oxnard that weekend, and I talked about it onstage at the Improv. I had five minutes of thoughts […] and by the end of the week, I had 15 minutes,” the 50-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter during an interview published on Thursday (March 2).
The Wayans Bros. actor spoke about seeing the slap happen live and subsequently contacting Smith and Rock to see if they were okay. As he explored discussing the moment in his stand-up shows, he described it as becoming a “Rubik’s cube” for him. “What’s my experience in the industry? What’s my experience as a Black person? What do white people feel? Before I knew it, I had an hour of material.”
The material was so consuming for the Scary Movie actor that he even curtailed a set discussing the loss of his mother. “Normally you tour material for a year or two. I toured this for three months. I wrote it on a stage, I never put a pen to the things. I experienced the set. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing stand-up so much the past 10 to 12 years, it’s allowed me to have the freedom to create in front of people.”
As far as whether or not he contacted the parties involved to get their blessings, Wayans stood firm on the fact that he did not have to. “I think as artists, we all do what we do. Especially because it’s such a sensitive subject, I didn’t want their opinions. I just hope they gauge and trust that I love them. That I’m being objective. I’m being honest. I’m being real. And that the purpose of this is more healing than it is deconstruction.”
Marlon Wayans’ “Slapgate” themed comedy special God Loves Me is out now via HBO Max.