Adam Sandler is sharing his reaction to his friend Chris Rock‘s Netflix live comedy special where Rock addressed the Oscars slap.
“Never thought that in my life,” Sandler, 56, told PEOPLE when asked if he felt Rock went too far with the Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith jokes. Sandler spoke with PEOPLE while on the red carpet before accepting the 2023 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington, D.C. on Sunday evening.
“I thought he was unbelievably relaxed, funny, thoughtful,” continued the 50 First Dates actor. “Crushed it and was real to himself.”
“And it was as exciting to watch as when the Super Bowl is on,” he added. “I thought about it all weekend. ‘All right, Rock is doing his thing tonight!’ Saturday, watched it in my kitchen, laughed my ass off, immediately watched it right after. It was one of the best experiences. I thought it was amazing.”
At the end of his wide-ranging live comedy routine on Netflix, Rock, 58, addressed the 2022 Oscars slap and took aim at Will Smith and Jada’s marriage. At one point, he said, “His wife was f—ing her son’s friend,” as the crowd laughed, referring to Jada’s previous “entanglement” with Alsina while on a break with husband Will, 54.
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Rock’s Netflix special, titled Selective Outrage, largely touched upon cancel culture. Sandler was also asked whether he thinks cancel culture is hurting modern comedy compared to his time on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s.
“I don’t know. The comedy I’m watching right now. I’m loving,” he said Sunday.
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Former SNL cast member Rob Schneider applauded Rock’s Netflix special as well.
“He’s outrageous. He’s incredible. He really does set the bar,” Schneider told PEOPLE. “He’s able to take really complex societal ideas and make them hilarious and bring us on board to some place of sanity, some place of reason. He’s so hilariously reasonable. He subverts us to his point of view, and that’s his genius. And modern comedy changed after Chris Rock, truthfully, 25 years ago.”
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Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix Chris Rock
Former SNL cast member Dana Carvey hosted the post-show after Rock’s live special. Carvey responded to those who argue that Rock’s jokes about Will and Jada went too far.
“There’s a million opinions so there’s kind of no such thing as too far because it’s called, ‘I don’t like it, me turn off, you know?’ If it was government order that you had to watch it then you would be allowed to be offended,” he said Sunday. “That was just pure unadulterated Chris Rock brilliance, the entire thing. He was on point and that’s really difficult, what we did, and whether there was real emotion and comedy mixed at the end, that’s for anyone else to observe but it was quite an achievement.”
When asked if he wants to see Rock and Will Smith make peace with each other, Carvey said, “It’s a completely closed circle of Will and Chris. I wouldn’t even have an opinion. There’s so much information I don’t have.”