Olivier Awards: Jason Manford jokes about Will Smith’s slap

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Entertainer Jason Manford decided to poke fun at Will Smith at the Olivier Awards tonight following the news that the actor has been banned from the Oscars for slapping comedian Chris Rock live on stage. Making reference to the incident, Jason joked to the Olivier Awards attendees that he would “keep their wives names out of his mouth”. 

Jason, 40, looked dapper as he settled in to host the biggest night in British musical theatre. 

“I’ve actually been incredibly nervous about this evening,” he told the crowd at the Olivier Awards.

“Not just because so many people are out for the first time in so long, but because I’m a comedian and this is an award ceremony.

“And those two things have not gone well lately together,” he continued, earning a laugh from the audience.

“So before we get into this properly let me tell you…

“I think all your hair looks lovely,” he said with mock sincerity as the crowd erupted into laughter once more.

“And I will very much be keeping your wives names out of my chuffing mouth this evening.”

“The last thing I need is a slap in the face off the seven actors who played the tiger,” he joked in reference to the musical Life of Pi.

On a more positive note he continued: “This is an evening of back slapping, not face slapping.”

The Olivier Awards are currently being aired on ITV tonight after the ceremony took place earlier today. 

The awards will feature the five Mastercard Best New Musical nominees, all of whom will perform in the show. 

These include Back To The Future – The Musical, The Drifters Girl, Frozen, Get Up Stand Up!, The Bob Marley Musical and Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

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There will also be a tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim, a renowned theatre composer and lyricist who passed away in 2021.

Jason’s joke about Will Smith comes after the actor was banned from the Oscars for 10 years for slapping comedian Chris live on stage.

The slap occurred after Chris made a joke about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

The joke was about Jada’s decision to shave her head, which was something she had previously admitted felt heartbreaking to do.

Referencing the 1997 action film G.I Jane starring Demi Moore, who shaved her head for the role, Chris said: “Jada, I love you. G.I Jane 2, can’t wait to see you.” 

The comment resulted in Will walking up to the stage and striking the presenter in the face, before returning to his seat and yelling: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g mouth.”

Attempting to regain his composure, Chris said: “Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me. That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

Since then, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced the actor will be banned from all of their events for the next decade.

The Olivier Awards are currently available to view live on ITV.

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