Marlon Wayans tackles the soon-to-be-one-year-old Oscars slap in his new stand-up special God Loves Me, which hit HBO Max on Thursday.
Given that stand-up specials are best enjoyed without having elements of them spoiled for you in written form, this article won’t go too deep into the specifics of the material itself, except to say that the slap is indeed the focal point. Wayans, however, touches on a litany of issues interconnected with the much-discussed incident, ultimately using the slap as a starting point for something much deeper than might be assumed.
Commemorating the special’s release (Wayans’ third for the platform) is a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter’s Abbey White, who at one point asked the comedian if he reached out to Smith or Rock while putting together his new special.
“No, because in their art, they don’t ask me, ‘What do you think of this?’ I think as artists, we all do what we do,” Wayans, who did individually speak with Smith and Rock immediately following the 2022 Oscars slap, said. “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.”
Deeper into the thoughtful and detailed conversation, Wayans was asked about the three-part structure to the special, prompting an answer that eventually worked its way back around to the comedian’s confidence about the material.
“This came from a genuine place, and I’m not afraid of them seeing it,” he said. “I think all of them know my heart. I’ve always been a really good dude. I come from a good place and there’s no harm ever meant. I just hope that at some point they can laugh at themselves.”
God Loves Me is out now. This weekend, Chris Rock will debut his live Netflix special Selective Outrage, which is widely expected to see the comedian directly addressing the events of last March. Just over one week later, the first post-slap Oscars ceremony will take place with returning host Jimmy Kimmel.