Chris Rock addresses Will Smith’s Oscars slap: ‘I’m still kind of processing what happened’
Just three days after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, the comedian is addressing what happened in his first stand-up show since the altercation.
Rock performed a sold-out show Wednesday in Boston at the Wilbur Theater. On Sunday, the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, and her bald head, which resulted in the “King Richard” actor walking up to the stage and striking Rock in the face.
Rock only briefly addressed the slap during his show, saying he was “still kind of processing what happened.”
“Other than the weird thing, life is pretty good,” Rock said midway through his first of two sets.
Rock didn’t mention Smith or Pinkett Smith by name at his show in Boston. Wearing all white, he seemed to be almost embarrassed by the multiple ovations he received. As the applause carried on for minutes — with fans yelling “I love you, Chris!” — the comedian appeared to be getting emotional, a guest seated near the stage told The Associated Press.
“How was your weekend?” Rock joked before getting into his set.
The comedian made clear he wasn’t going to talk at length about it Wednesday.
“If you came to hear that, I’m not … I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” Rock said.
He spent much of the night skewering celebrities and politicians. Among them were the Duchess of Sussex and the Kardashians, as well as President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former President Donald Trump.
USA TODAY has reached out to Rock’s representative for comment.
Following Sunday’s shocking incident, Rock is continuing on his Ego Death comedy tour, which officially kicks off Saturday in New Jersey; tickets are already sold out for the premiere performances. The comedian is also performing six shows at the Wilbur in Boston before his tour commences – all of which are sold out, according to Ticketmaster’s website.
Tickets to Rock’s Wednesday show and following Wilbur dates were initially going for $51 to $71, but resellers are now listing them for exponentially higher rates. TickPick, a secondary ticket seller, has seen a 641% increase.
“We sold more tickets to see Chris Rock overnight than we did in the past month combined,” TickPick’s official Twitter page announced Monday.
George Guay, a 24-year-old fan from Boston who grew up on “Everybody Hates Chris,” told the Associated Press he bought a ticket after Rock was slapped by Smith.
“He’s the most popular celebrity so I want to be here,” Guay said before the show, adding that he hoped Rock would open with a response to the situation. “I just want a good show.”
Afterward, some fans were a little disappointed he did not address the controversy more directly. But they also said they could see from his body language that he wasn’t sure how to do it.
“As soon as I saw him, his mood was a little bit shocked,” said Dave Henriquez, a 48-year-old musician from Newton, Massachusetts. “I got that it was weighing on him.”
Erin Ryan, a 33-year-old teacher also from Newton who was with Henriquez, said she felt Rock wanted to perform his act, “not make the standup about the one incident.”
Kathryn West-Hines, a 50-year-old Pilates instructor from Malden, Massachusetts, said she came away with even more respect for Rock. “I thought it was amazing, classy,” she said, adding that he wasn’t going to let “what happened Sunday” take away his shine.
Outside the venue on Wednesday, a fan showed off a T-shirt featuring the “G.I. Jane” logo and Pinkett Smith’s face. Another had a shirt he made that showed Smith’s face and displayed a crude joke about the couple’s relationship.
At least one person yelled during the show that Rock should sue Smith.
Fact check: False claim that Chris Rock apologized to Will Smith after Oscars slap
Smith apologized to Rock on Instagram Monday, condemning violence “in all its forms” and also apologizing to the Academy, the Oscars’ producers, everyone in attendance and everyone watching from home.
“I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” he wrote.
Pinkett Smith also broke her silence following Rock’s “G.I. Jane 2” joke, sharing a graphic on Instagram that read: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”