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Standing ovations: Chris Rock ‘misty and s#^t’ at first show since Will Smith slap


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BOSTON — Comedian Chris Rock, in his first public comments since he was slapped in the face by actor Will Smith at the Oscars on Sunday, said he is “still processing” the incident that made headlines around the world.

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“How was your weekend?” Rock asked on Wednesday night before a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. He made it clear from the onset he did not plan to address the Oscars incident at length.

“I’m still processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that shit,” Rock told the crowd. “It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”

Rock, 57, received several standing ovations from the Boston crowd before he told even one joke to kick off his Ego Death tour.

He didn’t mention Smith or his wife Jada 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.

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“Let me be all misty and shit,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “I don’t have a bunch of shit to say about that, so if you came here for that…’ he said, and paused. “I had written a whole show before this weekend.”

ose Santos, 42, from Texas, holds his tickets to see US comedian Chris Rock at the Wilbur Theatre at a sold out show in Boston, Massachusetts on March 30, 2022.
ose Santos, 42, from Texas, holds his tickets to see US comedian Chris Rock at the Wilbur Theatre at a sold out show in Boston, Massachusetts on March 30, 2022. Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP

Perhaps Rock’s biggest revelation was his plan to get a vasectomy next week. He joked that he made his decision after seeing 78-year-old actor Robert De Niro drop off his 11-year-old daughter at school.

“I’ve already seen Hannah Montana once and that was enough,” Rock quipped.

At Sunday’s Academy Awards, Rock was on stage to present the trophy for best documentary. He made a joke about Smith’s wife that referenced the 1997 film “G.I. Jane” in which actress Demi Moore shaved her head. It was unclear whether Rock was aware that Pinkett Smith has a condition that causes hair loss.

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Will Smith strode on to the stage and slapped Rock before winning best actor less than an hour later. The actor apologized to Rock and the academy in a public statement on Monday.

During his 80-minute set in Boston, Rock never mentioned Smith.

Will Smith (R) prepares to strike an unprepared Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, March 27, 2022.
Will Smith (R) prepares to strike an unprepared Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, March 27, 2022. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Instead, he launched into a stream of profanity-laced barbs directed at Great Britain’s royal family, Meghan Markle, former U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Subaru, Lululemon and even his oldest daughter Lola.

“He came out swinging, but not about Will Smith,” said Ramsay Fretz, a 32-year-old Boston real estate agent who sat in the balcony. “It’s nice to see someone equally attack everybody.”

After the slap that reverberated around the world, TickPick, an online marketplace for events, said it sold more tickets overnight to Rock’s “Ego Death” tour than it did in the past month combined.

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Balcony seat tickets with a face value of $61 fetched nearly $1,000 after Smith slapped Rock in front of nearly 17 million television viewers tuned into the Oscars.

Some attendees in Boston were disappointed that Rock refrained from verbally retaliating against Smith.

“You know, it was the elephant in the room,” said audience member Jay Dee. “Everyone was waiting for the ‘aha’ moment that didn’t come.”

Comedian Chris Rock (right, with backpack) exits The Wilbur Theatre and heads into a SUV after performing two sold out comedy shows in Boston, Massachusetts in the early hour of March 31, 2022.
Comedian Chris Rock (right, with backpack) exits The Wilbur Theatre and heads into a SUV after performing two sold out comedy shows in Boston, Massachusetts in the early hour of March 31, 2022. Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP

Rock’s two shows came hours after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed Smith “refused to leave” the ceremony following the assault.

The academy said: “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

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The statement also explained that while he is under investigation for the slap, Smith is “being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote” regarding any disciplinary action academy directors may choose to take.

The statement, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter read: “Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.

“Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television.

“Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”

With additional reporting from Bang Showbiz

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