Will Smith to Make Post-Slap Late-Night TV Return

First on LateNighter: Late night had a field day after the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the Oscars in 2022, but after a long break, Smith is set to guest next Tuesday on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, reuniting with Questlove in the process.

Smith did appear on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in 2022, eight months after he slapped Rock onstage at the Academy Awards, in which he sat for an interview with Noah and discussed the slap at length, but he’s otherwise avoided late night. 

The actor has a long history with Fallon, whose response to the slap was noticeably more muted than other late-night hosts. Smith guested on the host’s first-ever Tonight Show in 2014 (where he memorably performed with Fallon in “The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing”), and returned to the program seven more times through 2021. 

Smith’s Tonight Show return will also put him back in the same room as Questlove—bandleader of Fallon’s house band The Roots—who was also a part of the Oscars incident. Moments after Smith’s meltdown, Questlove won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. With the room still reeling from the confrontation, many felt Smith took away from Questlove’s big moment. 

However, it seems Smith and Questlove have long since patched things up.. “It really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment,” Smith stated to Questlove in an apology video months after the incident.

Late last year, Questlove introduced Smith at the GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop, calling himself a “fan” and “friend” of Smith. 

Smith will appear on Fallon alongside his Bad Boys 4 costar Martin Lawrence. It kicks off a week-long press tour for the film, although The Tonight Show is currently the only late-night stop on Smith’s schedule. 

Fallon’s other guests on Tuesday, June 4th, are actor Matt Smith and country music star  Megan Moroney.

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