Jimmy Kimmel Says Chris Rock Handled Will Smith Slap 'Well': 'I Would've Been Crying'

Will Smith struck Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head

Jimmy Kimmel is saluting Chris Rock for his composure after Will Smith struck the comedian at the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday.

Calling the incident "shocking" on Monday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the talk show host, 54, said he believes Rock handled the situation "well," and admitted that if it were him, he wouldn't have had the same reaction.

At the 2022 Oscars, Smith, 53, walked onto the stage and hit Rock, 57, after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. The actress, 50, has previously opened up about her years-long struggle with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.

"This was the Hollywood version of your drunk uncle starting a fight, ruining the wedding and then standing up and giving a long toast to the bride and groom," Kimmel, who has hosted the Oscars twice before, joked during his opening monologue. "But Chris Rock, he handled it about as well as you could possibly handle being slapped on stage at the Oscars. He didn't even flinch when Will slapped him. I would've been crying so hard."

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Breakdown of the Craziest Oscars Moment Ever Between Will Smith & Chris Rock
Jimmy Kimmel Live/Youtube

"A lot of my friends have been texting me, asking, what I would've done if I'd been on stage when Will — I would have run, is what I would've done," he quipped. "The second I saw Will Smith get up out of his seat I would've been halfway to the Wetzel's Pretzels, enjoying the samples in front of the store."

Kimmel then pointed out that no one "did anything" to stop the altercation.

Jimmy Kimmel; Will Smith; Chris Rock
Getty Images; David Livingston/Getty Images; Al Seib /A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

"A whole room full of people, no one lifted a finger. Spider-Man was there, Aquaman was there, Catwoman, all sitting on their hands. No one helped Chris Rock," he said as the audience laughed.

The incident occurred Sunday night after the comedian made a joke about Pinkett Smith's hair, saying: "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya."

Rock's comment was about Pinkett Smith's hair matching Demi Moore's shaved head in the movie G.I. Jane. Pinkett Smith recently opened up about her bald head, revealing it was a result of her years-long struggle with alopecia. Pinkett Smith was visibly unamused, rolling her eyes from her seat.

Seconds later, Smith walked onstage and approached Rock, slapped him in front of the audience and millions watching at home. Back at his table, Smith shouted to a stunned Rock, "Keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth," then remained seated with Pinkett Smith at his table for the rest of the night.

chris rock and will smith
Chris Rock; Will Smith. Getty (2)

When Smith won Best Actor later in the ceremony, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but did not mention Rock. In his tearful speech, he spoke about acting out of love and protection, saying, "Love makes you do crazy things."

Rock has yet to comment publicly on the incident outside of his on-stage reaction. He declined to press charges, and reps for the comedian have not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Monday night, Smith publicly apologized to Rock with a lengthy statement on Instagram.

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally," Smith began.

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"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be," he continued, which was the first time the Oscar winner directly apologized to the man he hit. "There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."

"I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family," the actor continued. "I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress."

Also on Monday, the Academy condemned Smith's actions, and announced that the organization has "officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law."

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