Comedian Chris Rock was instructed by the NAACP Image Awards committee to steer clear of the Jussie Smollett controversy, but the comedian couldn’t help himself as he tossed a couple of jokes towards the “Empire” actor that had the audience laughing.

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The simple fact he was told to avoid jokes about him tells the whole story. It seems like to me the award committee wanted to cover up the scandal that could have jumpstarted extreme tension across the nation as Smollett had initially blamed two white men in ski masks using the term “Welcome to MAGA country.”

“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes. I know. What a waste of white skin. You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here. F—ing running Hollywood,” Rock joked.

“What the hell was he thinking? From now on, you’re Jessie from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.”

Related: SNL Skit Pokes Fun At Jussie Smollett Controversy

Smollett skipped the award show even though he was nominated for his work on the Fox show Empire. The Saturday NAACP Image Award show was a few days after Smollet’s 16 felony counts were dropped after the court accepted his $10K Bond and used his past community work as consideration for the judgment.

Related: Nominee Smollett Skips Saturday Night NAACP Image Awards; Also Loses In Category

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After the charges were dropped, Smollett gave this statement: “First of all, I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have showed me so much love. No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will be forever grateful. I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.”

Bravo to SNL and bravo to Chris Rock for having the nerves to buck the system and go after Smollett.

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