Entertainment

Chris Rock addresses Will Smith Oscars slap: ‘I’m still processing’

Rock's stand-up show in Boston Wednesday night marked the comedian's first public appearance since the Oscars incident.

Chris Rock arrives at the Wilbur Theatre before performing in Boston Wednesday night.
Chris Rock performed at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston on Wednesday, his first public appearance since Will Smith slapped him at the 2022 Oscars. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

In his first public comments since Will Smith slapped him onstage at the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock said he was “still processing” the incident.

Rock was performing the first of six planned shows at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston on Wednesday night. The shows are a lead-up of sorts to the official kickoff of his Ego Death World Tour on April 2, Rock’s first tour since the 2017-18 Total Blackout Tour.

As the minutes ticked past the scheduled 7:30 start time, hundreds of ticket-holders were still outside, working their way inside the theater.

Once everyone was settled, Rock took the stage a little after 8 p.m., and quickly addressed the slap heard ’round the world.

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“How was your weekend?” Rock said, to laughter and cheers, per audio posted by Variety. “I don’t have a bunch of s*** about what happened. So if you came to hear that…”

“I had a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” Rock continued. “I’m still processing what happened. So at some point, I’ll talk about that s***. It’ll be serious, it’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”

Smith confronted Rock on stage at the Academy Awards Sunday night after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, comparing her haircut to Demi Moore’s in the 1997 film “G.I. Jane.” Pinkett Smith had recently revealed that she has alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.

Smith, who reportedly refused to leave the ceremony following the incident, apologized for his actions without directly mentioning Rock during his Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech. Smith later apologized to Rock through a statement on social media.

Ticket sales for Rock’s shows have surged following Sunday night’s incident, and all six shows in Boston quickly sold out. Ticket resellers like StubHub, Vivid Seats, and Seat Geek were selling tickets for between $800-1400 on Wednesday afternoon prior to the show.

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Not everything about Rock’s first Boston show went smoothly.

In leaked audio, Rock had to strain to be heard over a boisterous crowd shouting messages of “we love you” and “f*** Will Smith.” According to The Boston Globe, a commotion in the crowd briefly disrupted the set, causing Rock to mutter, “Is this how the tour’s gonna be?”

Boston Police told the Boston Herald Thursday morning that Kaleb Herd, 25, caused a disturbance in the theater after refusing to obey the venue’s masking requirement, and was “physically assaultive” toward officers and theater staff. Officers then removed Herd from the theater and pepper sprayed him after Herd “continued to try to assault the Officer.”

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