Jimmy Kimmel axed hoard of ‘harder’ Will Smith Slapgate gags from Oscars monologue
Jimmy Kimmel ditched a hoard of “harder” Will Smith jokes from his Oscars opening monologue.
The chat show host, 55, returned for his third time to front this year’s Academy Awards, with his wife Molly McNearney, 45, executive producing the show, which saw him mock Will Smith’s ‘Slapgate’ scandal and joke about Rihanna.
Molly McNearney told Variety about the secrets behind Jimmy’s run of jokes, and how the decision was made to scrap most of his harsher material about Will, 54, assaulting stand-up Chris Rock, 58, on stage at last year’s Oscars: “We didn’t want to make this year all about last year. I cannot tell you how many Will Smith jokes we had that then we got rid of.
“We think that only the best for that room made it. There were certainly some that went harder, but we didn’t think that was our place to do that.
“That should be Chris Rock, not us... I think we’re all still in a bit of shock of how that went down and how after watching that violence everyone had to then sit through an acceptance speech.”
Molly also explained why there were so many gags about Rihanna, 35, during Jimmy’s monologue.
She said about heavily pregnant ‘Umbrella’ singer – who had her first child last year with her 34-year-old rapper boyfriend A$AP Rocky: “We had two versions of the monologue. One if Rihanna was in her seat, one if she was not in her seat.
“One if Rihanna had her baby on her lap, which she wanted to do. And one if her baby was not on her lap.
“A lot of our jokes were kind of at the mercy of people being in their seats.”
Minutes before the show started, Molly added the production team was yelling up to Jimmy: “Rihanna is not in her seat! We’re going to adjust the prompter!”