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Bafta TV Awards 2022: Richard Ayoade makes joke about Will Smith slap in opening monologue

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Richard Ayoade, the host of the 2022 Bafta TV Awards, wasted no time in making a joke about Will Smith’s Oscars slap as the ceremony began tonight (8 May).

The comedian is hosting Britain’s biggest night in television at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

During his opening monologue, Ayoade told the audience: “Bafta is celebrating 75 years at the heart of our industry…

“In 1955, there were only six categories. Barely enough time to get up from your seat and slap someone before the whole ceremony would be over.”

He then reassured the audience that he wouldn’t be using their faces as “punchlines or punchbags”.

It’s been over a month since Smith struck Chris Rock at the Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, which alluded to her shaved head.

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” Rock said. Last year, Pinkett Smith revealed that she had been diagnosed with alopecia.

After the comedian made the quip, Smith walked onto the stage and hit Rock, before returning to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.”

Smith slaps Rock (AFP via Getty Images)
Smith slaps Rock (AFP via Getty Images)

The incident caused widespread condemnation of Smith’s behaviour. He resigned from the Academy a few days later.

Keep up with the list of Bafta TV winners as they are announced, here. See all the nominees here.

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