It’s no laughing matter.
Comedy clubs are reassessing safety measures in the wake of Will Smith’s shocking assault of Chris Rock at the Oscars.
The actor, 53, stormed the stage at Sunday night’s event, slapping the 57-year-old comic across the face after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, 50.
Now, venues across the country are considering “adding security guards, pre-show warnings and even metal detectors” in fear of copycat attacks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We’ve never had anything like that in our history,” Noam Dworman, owner of New York’s iconic Comedy Cellar, told the publication of the incident witnessed live by millions. “We’ve had audience members offended at personal jokes and who have had tiffs over the years, but very, very rarely have they [turned physical],” he added.
Meanwhile, Broadway Comedy Club in Midtown Manhattan told The Post that they have not yet beefed up safety measures, as security guards have always been on-hand.
The Post also reached out to the Comedy Cellar, Gotham Comedy Club and Caroline’s on Broadway, but they did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Comedy Cellar’s Dworman told the Reporter that his employees would “hold” any audience member who storms the stage and would call the police to arrest them.
“There is no way we would let somebody go. He would be arrested, for sure. What happened to Chris was 100 percent wrong. It’s just crazy. Chris was doing the traditional role of an Oscar presenter,” he declared.
However, in Chicago, comedy club president Curtis Shaw Flagg said patrons have been more aggressive than usual in recent months — and fears Smith’s slap may embolden them even more.
“There are conversations happening as we speak about beefing up security, having someone that’s maybe near or by the stage,” Flagg — who is president of The Laugh Factory Chicago — told the Reporter.
“I’m going to talk to my staff, just for this weekend, and say, ‘We definitely need you by the stage now. That is your post.’ Just in case someone is just trying to recreate a moment or feels emboldened by what Will Smith did,” he added. “And it’s unfortunate.”
Meanwhile, famous comedians have slammed Smith for his assault, similarly saying it may put other comics in danger.
“Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters,” Kathy Griffin tweeted.
“He could have killed him,” comedy director Judd Apatow wrote in a now-deleted tweet reposted by Variety editor-at-large Kate Aurthur. “That’s pure out-of-control rage and violence. They’ve heard a million jokes about them in the last three decades. They are not freshman in the world of Hollywood and comedy. He lost his mind.”
At the Oscars, Rock compared Jada Pinkett Smith — who suffers from alopecia and shaved her head last summer — to Demi Moore’s bald character from the film “G.I. Jane,” prompting the slap from Smith.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth!” Smith then shouted — twice — after returning to his seat.
A visibly stunned Rock continued with his set before leaving the stage. Just minutes later, Smith scooped up the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “King Richard.”
Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech. At the time, he notably left out Rock’s name, but he has since issued a formal apology, including to Rock.
The Academy said it is investigating the incident in a “formal review” that will “explore further action and consequences.”