Leslie Jones Goes Off on ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith for Saying Rihanna ‘Ain’t Beyoncé’

After coming in hot with her take on the seemingly obscene Martin Luther King Jr. statue recently erected in Boston earlier this week, Leslie Jones closed out her guest-hosting week on The Daily Show Thursday night by going to bat for another beloved icon.

“Who here is excited about Rihanna at the Super Bowl?” Jones asked to cheers from the crowd. “Everybody’s excited. Well, almost everybody.”

From there, Jones cut to a clip of ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith throwing some shade Rihanna’s way when he was a guest on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show earlier in the week. “I don’t want to say I’m not excited,” Smith said, calling the singer “fantastic” and “spectacular.” But then he added, “There’s one thing she’s not: She ain’t Beyoncé.”

“Dude, no!!” Jones shot back. “Why would you do this to yourself? You know what, Stephen A. Smith? You need to act like your hairline and back the fuck off!”

The “good news,” the host added, is that Smith did issue an apology to Rihanna and her furious fans, but “the bad news was his apology,” she said of his taped video in which he condescendingly addressed her as “sweetie.”

“How dare you call Rihanna ‘sweetie!’” Jones said in response. “You’re callin’ her ‘sweetie’ like you know her. She doesn’t know you! But you know who she does know? Beyoncé!”

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