Grammys 2022: Trevor Noah jokes about Will Smith’s slap in the face

Grammys host Trevor Noah kicked off Sunday’s show with plenty of light-hearted banter about music’s biggest stars – and a nod to Will Smith’s infamous Oscar outburst.

Following an electrifying performance by Silk Sonic’s Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, the comedian delivered an opening monologue peppered with material name checks from Olivia Rodrigo to BTS.

“This is a party,” Noah said as he strolled through the audience. “Everybody hangs out. … We’re in Vegas. …People fire shots. I mean, last year people were recording, but it was more Moderna and Pfizer. This time we are at it again.”

Then came the indirect reference to last week’s Academy Awards, where Smith slapped Chris Rock in the face and twice yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out of your friggin’ mouth!”

“We’re going to listen to music, we’re going to dance, we’re going to sing, we’re going to keep people’s names out of our mouths and we’re going to be giving out awards throughout the night,” joked Noah.

“So let’s get started right away.”

The Daily Show host’s dig comes days after Smith resigned from film academy and repeatedly apologized for hitting Rock in response to a joke the comic made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. Smith also won an award at the Academy Awards for his leading role in King Richard.

“I have betrayed the Academy’s trust,” Smith wrote in his resignation letter. “I deprived other nominees and winners of the opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. My heart is broken.”

Ahead of the 2022 Grammy Awards, jazz musician Jon Batiste garnered the most nominations with 11 — including nominations for Album of the Year, R&B Album and Album of the Year. Other artists contending for the grand prize include Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, HER, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and Kanye West.

“Every single person you can think of is here,” Noah said at the beginning of the show. “I saw Olivia Rodrigo myself. She was carded and had to show a bouncer her real driver’s license. It was, like, story folks!

“Oh, and you know what else I saw? I saw Nas standing next to Lil Nas X. Plot Twist: Lil Nas is actually taller. They don’t tell you that.”

All of the Album of the Year nominees — except for West, Doja Cat, Swift and Bennett — will appear on CBS during the Grammys broadcast. The list of services also includes BTS, Silk Sonic, J Balvin and John Legend.

Times intern Kai Grady contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-04-03/grammys-2020-will-smith-slap-chris-rock-trevor-noah Grammys 2022: Trevor Noah jokes about Will Smith’s slap in the face

Caroline Bleakley

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