For the first time, Chris Rock has spoken publicly on Slapgate. On Wednesday night, the comedian held a stand-up show in Boston at the Wilbur Theater where he briefly referenced the incident.
“How was your weekend?” Rock began after a two-minute standing ovation, per Variety. “I don’t have a bunch of s*** about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that s***. And it will be serious and funny.”
While the crowd didn’t get much material on the incident, at one point during the show, an audience member chanted “F*** Will Smith!” Instead of egging it on, Rock ignored the comment.
“I’m going to tell some jokes,” he said. “It’s nice to just be out.”
The show follows Rock being a presenter for Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards. Before 2021 concert film Summer of Soul was awarded, the comedian made a joke about Will Smith‘s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
“Jada, I love you. G.I Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Rock said about Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head, which stems from the actress having a lengthy battle with alopecia.
Smith approached the stage as Rock continued to speak, slapping him for the joke before returning to his seat and shouting “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth,” twice.
Since the incident, Smith has issued an apology on his Instagram.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” Smith wrote. “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. 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.”
Rock declined to press charges, but is currently on his Ego Death World Tour 2022 before co-headlining his five-date Only Headliners Tour with Kevin Hart in July.
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