At this point, everyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock has heard about Will Smith and Chris Rock’s animosity. But what they may not realize is that their history goes back a long way. Not only have Smith and Rock collaborated in the 1990s when both of them were still climbing the Hollywood A-list ladder, but Rock has worked with Jada Pinkett too.
In the wake of Will Smith slapping Rock at the Oscars, some people are recalling Rock’s 1995 appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, an episode that can be labeled “problematic” at best when viewed through 2020s perspective.
I forgot Chris Rock was on an episode of Fresh Prince…🌚 pic.twitter.com/fbOq93vyX0
— Aaron Adade (@AAdade9) March 28, 2022
Chris Rock on The Fresh Prince pic.twitter.com/OlK3dFezyj
— Mal Loves Pure Shores by All Saints (@malythe85) March 28, 2022
The episode in question, titled “Get a Job,” was shot during the sixth season and originally aired on September 25, 1995.
Smith’s character Will tries to get hired as an assistant talent coordinator on his cousin Hilary’s talk show in the episode. When Smith was told superstars Maurice, played by Rock, would appear on the program if he dated his sister and things went well, he seized the opportunity. The sister is played by Rock again, and the date predictably goes horribly wrong, filled with awkwardly transphobic and otherwise face-palm-worthy 90s vintage wackiness.
Pinkett Smith also has a past working relationship with Rock, having voiced characters in the Madagascar franchise such as Marty the Zebra and Gloria the Hippo. While filming, Rock and Pinkett Smith were most likely not in the sound booth at the same time, but they have definitely worked together at least twice during all three films’ press tours.
In 2012 Rock shared the information that his own daughters were fans of Willow, Smith and Pinkett Smith’s musician daughter, during a joint interview with Fuse. “Hey, my kids listen to your kids! ’21st Century Girl’ Oh my god,” said Rock.
— Nathan Sawczak (@92nathan) March 28, 2022
Smith, Pinkett, and Rock have all been out and about together socially in the past, and since 1995, when Smith first began dating Pinkett. However, after Smith decided to boycott the 2016 Academy Awards — which Rock hosted — over a lack of diversity in the wake of the “Oscars so white” controversy, their friendship may have gone downhill.
“I understand. I understand you’re mad—Jada’s mad her man Will was not nominated for Concussion [Smith’s 2015 film],” Rock said in his monologue. “I get it. Tell the truth. I get it. It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West.“
Only Smith can say, but did last night’s event stem from a load of straws for the camel to carry or simply the wrong statement at the wrong time? For the time being, Sean “Diddy” Combs has reassured the press that the problem is resolved and that the two men are recovering their friendship. “That’s not an issue. It’s over. I can confirm that,” said Combs. “It’s all love… They’re brothers.”
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest