See Will Smith Return To Late Night TV

By Michileen Martin | Published

will smith

On Monday night’s episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Will Smith made his late night TV return. The Men in Black star spoke to the host about the upcoming Apple TV+ premiere of the historical action film Emancipation. It’s Smith’s first such appearance after the infamous Oscars slap on March 27.

Will Smith dabs his eyes with a tissue during his return interview, which will likely lead to a lot of speculation about his emotions. However, Smith told Noah it was “airplane eyes,” because he’d been traveling in the air for 30 hours. The actor is currently filming in different locations across the globe for the upcoming National Geographic docu-series Pole to Pole.

After about the first ten and a half minutes of the interview, Trevor Noah and Will Smith return to the topic that has gone hand in hand with the Oscar winner for the past 8 months. Smith and Noah talk a lot about the slap, particularly about Smith’s regret. “I guess the thing that was most painful for me is, I took my hard and made it hard for other people,” the actor said.

“You know, it’s like, I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people,” Smith explained.

One particularly heartbreaking moment Will Smith returns to involves the night of the Oscars ceremony. He says his 9-year-old nephew Dom was waiting for him when he came home from the ceremony. Smith said that his nephew was sitting in his lap and holding the Oscar when he asked, “Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?”

At that point it seems like Smith’s tears are more than just “airplane eyes.” As he gets more emotional, he jokes to Noah, “Man, why you tryin’ to Oprah me?”

will smith return
Will Smith in the trailer for Emancipation

Going along with the notion of Will Smith’s issues making “it hard for other people,” the actor said he’s worried about how the fallout could return to impact the reception for Emancipation. He calls the film director Antoine Fuqua’s “masterpiece” and singles out others who worked on the film like cinematographer Robert Richardson (Inglourious Basterds) and his co-star Ben Foster (Hell or High Water). Smith says it’s “killing me dead” to think his collaborators could “be denied because of me.”

Emancipation debuts on Apple TV+ next Friday,. December 9. Will Smith returns as Gordon–a character based on the real life man who became known as “Whipped Peter,” who escaped slavery and became famous for a photograph taken of his horrifically scarred back. Since before the infamous slap, Emancipation was projected to be a big Oscars contender and it remains to be seen if Smith’s mistake will ruin its chances.

Chris Rock, who is the too often forgotten other side of this story, will be making his own bit of streaming history soon. As reported by CNN, the comic will be delivering Netflix’s first ever live performance in his next stand up special for the streamer. It would be shocking if he didn’t have a thing or two to say about Smith on stage.