You’ve all seen the slap by now, the one Chris Rock didn’t think was coming or else he would have ducked. But what you didn’t see was what happened to Chris.
The slap was so hard it knocked Chris into last week. At first he just noticed that he was home suddenly in daylight. He wondered how this could be. So he wandered around his house till he saw a newspaper that should have been in the recycling. It said March 20 instead of March 27. Realizing what might have happened, Chris checked his phone again. It said the 27th. He went to the living room and found the time on the television said March 20th.
If he had really been sent back to the past, he wondered where his week old self was. He couldn’t remember exactly where he was a week ago but he knew he would have been home. He checked all the rooms of his house. He even checked the front and back yards. Nothing. It was then he developed his time travel exclusion principle. There could only be one of you at one time. If you go back you are erasing that self.
But what to do about the slap? If he didn’t get slapped, might that not erase his present self? He didn’t know. But if he did get slapped, wouldn’t that lock him in a time loop? One that he might never get out of again?
Maybe this was the universe’s way of telling him to change the joke. If he did, it might save him from being trapped in the time loop.
The week went by and time found him again on that Oscar stage. This time he would leave Jada and her hair alone. Instead Chris said. “There they are, right at the front. The Smith brood. And might I say what a brooding lot they are.”
This seemed innocuous enough but Will Smith got up and slapped Chris again.
There was a discontinuity as Chris found himself in his house, again in daylight. This time the television said it was March 23rd. The universe was saying he was on the right track but his joke just wasn’t there yet. He had tried changing the joke from bothering Jada to the brood. Now, he thought, the target ought to be Will Smith himself.
The 27th came around again and Chris found himself on that same stage again. So he turned to Will Smith and said, “You used to be the fresh prince. But now you’re such a stale prince that you tried to go by the name King Richard this year.”
Will Smith came up to the stage and slapped Chris.
Again there was discontinuity and Chris found himself in daylight at home. This time the television told him that it was the 26th. So close, but Chris felt he needed to know more.
He got a security camera with software to lip read what was said and got permission to set it up at the Dolby Theater. He said nothing about the lip reading capabilities.
It was burned in his brain where Will and Jada were going to sit and the next night he listened to what Will and Jada were saying as they got to their seats.
“Front row!” said an excited Will while settling in. “You know, we can get up and slap any comedian making fun of us.”
“If it’s one of the three hosts or another comedienne, let me do it.” said Jada.
“Alright. I’ll take on any guys who dare.”
There it was. Chris had thought there might be a way around the universe’s attempts to edit him in regards to the Smith brood. But he had never imagined a premeditated slap.
Since he couldn’t say a joke about the Smith brood, Chris faked a cough and told the producer he couldn’t go on.
“Yeah,” she said, “these changes in temperature really affect your health. It’s been unseasonably warm all week but now it’s back down to normal.”
Chris wondered if he should have taken a jacket but as he stepped outside to his waiting limo he shivered while it was snowing. He should have taken a winter coat. At least that’s what his limo driver said.