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Ricky Gervais Defends Chris Rock Riffing on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Hair: ‘Tamest Joke I Would Have Ever Told’

The Golden Globes host emeritus had a laugh over people suggesting Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia is a disability

Ricky Gervais offered an emotional appeal to comedians to be more thoughtful and sensitive when crafting material about celebrities, their lifestyles and their bodies, stressing the importance of curtailing potentially harmful criticism — like what Jada Pinkett Smith endured at the Oscars.

OK, OK — that was a bad joke.

What Gervais actually said about the slap of Chris Rock was a little more in line with expectations.

“That was like the tamest joke I would have told,” Gervais said Thursday on his TikTok page, and judging by the things he’s said about Hollywood and its inhabitants at the Golden Globes over the years, no one argued.

The ever unpredictable and contrarian Gervais did not, however, fall on the side of defending Will Smith.

“But no, you don’t hit someone over a joke,” he said. “No matter how bad it is. And that wasn’t bad!”

Rock suggested in an off-the-cuff joke from the Oscars stage that he looked forward to a shaved-head Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, starring in “G.I. Jane 2.” Her husband’s reaction was of some interest.

In the aftermath, Rock’s brother said the host didn’t know about Pinkett Smith’s condition, which causes hair loss, at the time of the wisecrack. By Gervais’ logic, it wouldn’t have mattered.

“Someone said it was joking about her disability,” Gervais said. “Well, I’m going a bit thin so I’m disabled. That means I can park right up next to [the grocery store] now. And I’m fat! That’s a disease. I’m fat and balding. I should get f—— benefit!”

Gervais will not be hosting the 95th Academy Awards ceremony, scheduled for broadcast in early 2023 on ABC.

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