Chris Rock used his opening monologue at the 88th Annual Academy Awards to address the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations pool head-on, calling the Oscars the “White People’s Choice Awards” in a scathing stand-up routine.
“If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job!” Rock joked. “You’d be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
Rock admitted when the nominations came out, “I thought about quitting, I thought about it real hard … But the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart.” He also addressed the boycott led by Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Spike Lee and others: “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me being boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!”
Other highlights included Rock calling Creed “Black Rocky,” suggesting an award called the “Best Black Friend” (“And the winner for the 18th year in a row is Wanda Sykes!”), and this absolutely brutal line: “This year, the In Memoriam package is just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies.”
Rock ended by concluding that Hollywood is racist in a “sorority” way, but that boycotting the Oscars is the wrong way to go. “It’s not about boycotting anything. We want opportunity. … Not just once! Leo gets a great part every year!”