There is a very important disclaimer at the beginning David Lettermannew interview Will Smith in the fourth season of his Netflix series My next guest needs no introduction: “This episode was filmed ahead of the 2022 Oscars.”
Netflix and Letterman tell viewers there won’t be clear questions or answers about Smith notorious slap comedian chris rock Made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars earlier this year. As of the new season’s release on Netflix, Smith hasn’t spoken publicly about how it upended his life and career. coming soon project temporarily put on hold.
However, there were moments in the nearly hour-long conversation that would have been very different if Smith’s joke-loving character had remained intact.
Earlier in the interview, Letterman described having Smith’s experience with his old man late show When watching “The Locomotive” come into the studio, “but you tell people it’s not exactly who you are.”
“There is someone you want to be, someone you want to be seen as,” Smith explained. “And then there’s who you really are.” echoes the first line self-proclaimed memoir He launched last year, and Smith said, “I’ve always considered myself a coward.”
The actor recounted watching his father beat up his mother at the age of nine. “And I didn’t do anything,” he said. “And that just left a traumatic impression of myself as a coward.”
Smith went on to say that when he discovered comedy, he began to realize that “negative emotions don’t exist in the human body when you laugh,” and he started 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 when my family was like that, I felt safe.”
Smith’s image as a “symbol of joy and fun” may not only be irreparably damaged by his actions at the Oscars, but shockingly, these actions are a direct attack on comedy itself, he said. The medium is his way of living abusive family.
Later in the episode, there are more varied moments in the post-shoot world. At one point, Letterman innocuously mentioned Smith’s mother, with the actor joking, “Don’t say anything to my mother, Dave,” before pretending he was going to fight the 75-year-old host on set. stage.
In another scene, Smith shares his experience training to play Muhammad Ali by showing how you know when someone is going to hit you. “Show me, but don’t hit me,” Letterman joked.
When someone puts their right foot back in place, “you know he’s about to attack,” Smith explained. Smith then threw a fake punch at Letterman, to which Letterman replied, “Holy shit! That was horrible. Don’t do it again.”
At the end of the interview, Smith told the host, “Life is so exciting for me right now because I’m able to reach people in a way I’ve never been able to, mainly because of my pain. I’m really ready for a kind of me Thinking of ways that hopefully satisfies me and helps the human family creeps into my art.”
Now, the only question is whether Hollywood will give him a chance to move forward.