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Will Smith’s Letterman interview hits another post-Oscar hit

There is a very important disclaimer that appears at the beginning of David Letterman’s new interview with Will Smith in the fourth season of his Netflix series My next guest needs no introduction: “This episode was filmed before the 2022 Oscars.”

Netflix and Letterman are telling viewers there will be no explicit questions or answers about Smith, who infamously hit comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, at the Oscars earlier this year. At the time of the new season’s release on Netflix, Smith has still not spoken publicly about the incident that has turned his life and career upside down, as several upcoming projects have been put on hold for the time being.

And yet there are moments during the almost hour-long conversation that come across as very different than if Smith’s fun-loving personality were still intact.

At the beginning of the interview, Letterman described the experience of having Smith on his old lady late show like a “locomotive” enters the studio, “but you tell people you’re not exactly that.”

“There’s a person you want to be and there’s a person you want to be seen as,” Smith explained. “And then there’s who you really are.” Echoing the opening line of the self-titled memoir he published last year, Smith said, “I’ve always thought of myself as a coward.”

The actor recounts the experience of being nine years old and watching his father beat up his mother. “And I didn’t do anything,” he said. “And that just left a traumatic impression of me as a coward.”

Smith went on to say that upon discovering comedy, he realized that “negativity cannot exist in a human body when you’re laughing,” and he began using comedy as a “defense mechanism.”

“Ultimately, ‘Will Smith’ became a symbol of joy and fun, and when I showed up, I wanted people to be happy,” he told Letterman, “because I found that having my household like that made me feel safe.” was.”

Not only was Smith’s image as a “symbol of joy and fun” possibly irreparably damaged by his actions at the Oscars, it is also striking that these actions were a direct attack on comedy itself, the medium of which he says that it was his way of surviving an abusive household.

Later in the episode there are more moments that play out differently in a post-slap world. At one point, Letterman makes a harmless reference to Smith’s mother, and the actor jokingly says, “Don’t say anything about my mother, Dave,” before pretending to fight the 75-year-old host right on the spot.

In another scene, Smith shares lessons from his training playing Muhammad Ali by demonstrating how to tell when you’re about to hit someone. “Show me that, but don’t hit me,” jokes Letterman.

When someone drops their right foot back, “that’s a sign they’re getting ready to sneak the shot,” Smith explains. Smith then hits Letterman with a false punch, who replies, “Oh Jesus! That was scary. Don’t do that again.”

At the end of the interview, Smith tells the presenter: “Life is so exciting for me precisely because I can reach people in a different way than I ever have before, mainly because of my pain. I am truly ready to immerse myself in my art in ways that I feel will hopefully fulfill me and help the human family.”

Now the only question is whether Hollywood will give him a chance to move forward.

For more, listen and subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/will-smiths-letterman-interview-hits-different-post-oscar-slap?source=articles&via=rss Will Smith’s Letterman interview hits another post-Oscar hit

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