Just days before Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson is set to take the stage as host for the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, he took the time out to give his thoughts on the now infamous Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscars slap and how he plans to skirt any slap-worthy jokes.
Speaking at an Emmy preview event in LA on Wednesday, Thompson explained that there’s a way to roast and jab at people without causing offense.
“I think a good comic is supposed to be aware,” Thompson said, per Deadline. “I mean I’m not calling Chris a bad comic, he just wasn’t necessarily aware of that situation, so it’s not fair to lump him into that conversation. But overall those kind of roast-y kind of people, you have to be smart. Because you know, there’s a way to jab at people without offending—like for real, for real. I don’t think offense necessarily gets us anywhere as a society.”
He continued, “I feel like a hug moment would have stopped all of that, you know what I’m saying? But it was so unfathomable that [Rock] didn’t know that was even coming. He would have never in his wildest dreams have imagined his friend of 30-plus years would attempt some shit like that.”
Thompson then turned to his upcoming hosting duties at this year’s Emmys and assured everyone that his jokes would be rated “E” for everyone.
“You know, I’m not going out there like hurting anybody’s feelings for the sake of other people laughing,” he explained. “We’re supposed to all be laughing together, even that person the joke is about.”
“This being a roasting opportunity kind of night, a lot of people expect to hear that,” Thompson concluded, but clarified that his jokes and roasts will be “more so about the zeitgeist about what’s going on, maybe like the jokes are about the shows or the different platforms. Because it’s bigger than a famous person who’s having a moment, because it’s a room full of famous people.”
The Primetime Emmys is set to take place, airing live from Microsoft Theater on Monday, Sep. 12 only on NBC and streaming on Peacock.