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Chris Rock went there: Revisiting the Smiths’ ‘entanglement’ scandal

Chris Rock didn’t pull a fist while roasting Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith on Saturday in his live Netflix special “Selective Outrage,” featuring the comedian’s most direct response yet to that infamous Oscars punch.

But Rock went beyond the moment when Will Smith slammed him onstage at the 94th Academy Awards. Live from the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore, the veteran comic ripped up the couple’s marital history and took in Smith’s 2015 medical drama, “Concussion” — or was it “Emancipation”? (Rock briefly confused the two films while editing some new anti-Smith material on Saturday.)

“A lot of people say, ‘Chris, why didn’t you return the favor?'” Rock said during the special. ‘Because I have parents. Because I was raised, okay? Do you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”

Parental advice be damned, Rock definitely called Smith back on last night’s stand-up set by tapping rich, tabloid-supporting headlines and rubbing salt into old wounds. Now that Rock brought it up, let’s revisit the “entanglement” scandal that inspired one of the night’s most biting punchlines.

While claiming he didn’t deserve to be clocked by Smith at last year’s Oscars, Rock joked that he “had no entanglements” — an obvious reference to Pinkett Smith’s extramarital relationship with singer August Alsina.

Pinkett Smith’s affair with Alsina made headlines in 2020 when he told “The Breakfast Club” radio show that he and the “Girls Trip” actor were in a relationship before, with Smith’s “blessing”. Pinkett Smith later clarified on her Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk” that no one had given her “permission” to see Alsina — explaining that she and her husband were “amicably divorced” when the romance happened.

While Pinkett Smith initially referred to her involvement with Alsina as an “entanglement” (causing Twitter to lose its collective mind), Smith urged her to confirm it was an “absolute relationship” when he reunited with his wife in July 2020 sat at the Red Table.

Pinkett Smith, 51, and Alsina, 30, met at a music festival in 2015 with the former’s children, Willow and Jaden, according to Billboard.

“His wife whistled for her son’s friend,” Rock said Saturday.

“Well, normally I wouldn’t talk about this. But for some reason (they) put that on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something so lowly. … We’ve all been cheated. Everyone here has been cheated. None of us have ever been interviewed by the person who cheated on us on television. “Hey, I was sucking someone’s d—. How did you feel then?’”

Rock added that he called Smith during the entanglement drama to offer his “condolences” — but the “King Richard” star didn’t answer.

“She hurt him a lot more than he hurt me, okay?” he continued.

“Everyone in the world called him ab—. … They called his wife a predator. And who does he hit? Me. (Someone) that he knows he can beat. That’s a b—ass s—.”

Despite Rock’s repeated punches, there seemed to be no resentment between the Smiths by the time their landmark “Red Table Talk” episode premiered.

“I think it can feel weird to people that we laugh about it and talk about it,” Smith said at the time. “But…our experiences of working through it, fighting through it, talking through it, and therapeutically working through it — I think the ‘Why now?’ it’s weird.”

“Any relationship and attempt to come to a deeper understanding of love will be forged in fire,” Pinkett Smith said at the time. “There’s no escaping it.”