ZB

Ricky Gervais says alopecia is 'not a disability'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Apr 2022, 2:19pm
Ricky Gervais has shared his thoughts on Chris Rock's Oscars joke. (Photo / Getty Images)
Ricky Gervais has shared his thoughts on Chris Rock's Oscars joke. (Photo / Getty Images)

Ricky Gervais says alopecia is 'not a disability'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Apr 2022, 2:19pm

Ricky Gervais has hit out at people calling Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia a "disability".

The comedian, 60, weighed in on Chris Rock's joke at the Oscars, which led to Will Smith taking to the stage to slap him across the face.

Gervais said Rock's joke "wasn't bad" and called it the "tamest joke" he would have told while speaking during a live Twitter Q&A session.

He's vocally criticised Smith for storming the stage to attack Rock after the comedian joked about his wife's shaved head.

But he scoffed at those who referred to alopecia, a hair loss condition, as a "disability".

"Someone said it was joking about her [Jada's] disability. Well I'm going a bit thin, so I'm disabled. That means I can park right up next to Tescos now," he said.

"And I'm fat, that's a disease. I'm fat and balding, I should get f***ing benefits."

Pinkett Smith shaved her head last year after struggling from worsening hair loss.

Alopecia causes drastic hair loss and can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of ageing.

The talk show host has been open about her battle over the past three years, eventually opting to shave all her hair off with the help of her daughter, Willow, in July 2021.

In a 40-second video posted to Instagram in December, Pinkett Smith told fans, "Now at this point, I can only laugh… y'all know I've been struggling with alopecia.

"Just all of a sudden, one day…" she added, pointing to a hairless line on her scalp.

Despite public backlash over Rock's insensitive joke, Gervais insisted the comment "wasn't bad", while condemning Smith for slapping the Oscars host.

"You don't hit people over a joke, however bad it is. And it wasn't bad!

"That was like the tamest joke I would ever have told."

It's not the first time he's voiced his opinions on the slap, previously saying that he would never joke about Pinkett Smith's hair loss - rather, he would have made jokes about her "boyfriend".

The comedian's fans were keen to know what he would have said, having made jokes about his fellow celebrities while hosting the 2020 Golden Globes.

While testing new comic material at a show in London this week, Gervais said, "I'll get it out of the way. I have not got any Will Smith material. I trended when that happened and I was not even there."