Will Smith talked to David Letterman about “pain” prior to his Oscars controversy.
On Friday, a new season of David Letterman’s Netflix chat show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction dropped, gifting subscribers with another six hour-long tête-à-têtes. Thing is, one of them made a bit of news since their episode is recorded. That person is Will Smith, who sat down with the former late-night television king before he won his Oscar…and before he slapped Chris Rock on live TV. The episode is filled with remarks that seem different now than they would have had the incident never happened.
One of them comes towards the end, when Smith tells Letterman about a vision he had on a druggy trip in which, eerily, he saw his life and career go up in smoke. In a bit teased out by Hello!, Smith — who says he’s never done drugs, not even marijuana — reveals that he got really into ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew that has been taken for over a thousand years and was first discovered amongst tribes in the Amazon basin. Smith says he took 14 “journeys,” one of which was the “most hellish psychological experience of my life.”
“I drank, and it usually takes about 45 minutes to kick in,” Smith told Letterman. “And I’m sitting there and you always feel like, ‘Maybe it won’t kick in this time.’ So I’m drinking and sitting there and then all of a sudden it’s like I start seeing all of my money flying away, and my house is flying away and my career is going away.”
At one point during his vision, he heard his daughter Willow calling out for help. “Then slowly, I stopped caring about my money, I just wanted to get to Willow,” he said. “I stopped caring about my house, I stopped caring about my career.”
Intense as it was, Smith emerged with a new perspective, namely, “that anything that happens in my life, I can handle it.” He said, “I can handle any person I lose, I can handle anything that goes wrong in my life, I can handle anything in my marriage. I can handle anything that this life has to offer me.”
There are other unintentionally strange moments throughout the hour-long chat. At one point Smith talks about his private vs. public self. “There’s a person that you want to be and a person you want to be viewed as,” he said. “And then there’s who you really are.”
At another point, Letterman mentions Smith’s mother, to which Smith gets jokingly irate, telling him, “Don’t say nothing about my mother, Dave,” then pretends to be angry with him. That moment probably seemed cute before the 94th Academy Awards. What’s more, Letterman’s laidback, friendly chat with Smith ages interestingly given the joke he made after the incident.
As for what’s Smith’s up to now, he was last seen in India. He has yet to offer a fulsome apology to Rock personally.
You can watch Smith’s appearance on My Next Guest on Netflix.