Joe Rogan Says It’s Time to Forgive Will Smith

The UFC commentator says we shouldn't take punches so personally
Joe Rogan Says It’s Time to Forgive Will Smith

Well, well, well — look who’s being all reasonable and adult-ish. Nearly a year after Will Smith popped Chris Rock in the kisser for telling mildly insulting jokes about Jada, pugilistic podcaster Joe Rogan says it’s time for us all to pardon Smith for his sins.

Rogan, who spent about a decade doing color commentary for a sport built on open-handed power slaps, spoke on his podcast this week about why it’s time to forgive and forget. “Now thinking about (the situation), I’m like, that guy has to be forgiven. Like, he clearly has deep remorse for what he’s done. And he’s also clearly living in a world where he was given nothing but adulation and praise for most of his life. And then all of a sudden, he has this one, in many people’s eyes, unforgivable moment where he does something just so stupid. He’s a human being. You just gotta forgive him, you know? And I think the real person who has to forgive him — if he wants to — is Chris Rock.”

That’s the thing, right? Whether Smith’s feelings were sincere or scripted by a publicist, he has indeed publicly apologized to Rock in a highly produced video shared with former and current fans. (Because why would you want to meet with someone in an actual room and personally deliver this kind of message?)

Rock’s reaction? During a comedy set in London last September, the comic shared his response to Smith’s message: “Fuck your hostage video.” So — apology not accepted, at least back in the fall. Apparently, it’s not easy to be merciful when your face still stings. “That shit hurt,” Rock told the crowd. “He played Ali. I can't even play Floyd Mayweather.”

But does that mean Rock is incapable of forgiveness? This public spat will naturally simmer down over time, but not before Rock gets to swing back — on stage. Rock has been uncharacteristically quiet about the whole thing (save those London comments), and we’re guessing he’s saving up his comedy ammo for Selective Outrage, his live special for Netflix that airs in about six weeks. 

If Rock follows Rogan’s advice (and really, shouldn’t we all?), there’s no better venue for setting things right than on the first-ever live Netflix show. If a guy has to be gracious, might as well get a little career juice at the same time. As we’ve seen, public fence-mending is the approach Will Smith himself would take. 

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