Back to business! Chris Rock took the stage for the first time since his 2022 Oscars drama with Will Smith — and briefly spoke about the altercation.
“What’s up, Boston?” Rock, 57, asked the audience during his Wednesday, March 30, comedy show at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Massachusetts. “How was your weekend?”
The Grown Ups actor noted, “I’m still processing what happened” before continuing with his routine. An eyewitness exclusively tells Us Weekly that the audience “laughed a lot and it really cut the tension” for Rock. The source adds that it was a “great show.”
After receiving a standing ovation, the comedian said, “Y’all are getting me misty eyed and s–t.” He then noted that his show was written before the incident and according to the insider, Rock didn’t bring it up in a direct way after that.
Rock’s return to his standup roots came just days after he made headlines for his mid-Oscars altercation with Smith, 53, on Sunday, March 27.
Rock was spotted at the venue early on Wednesday, just days after he made headlines for his mid-Oscars altercation with Smith, 53, on Sunday, March 27.
During the 94th annual Academy Awards, Rock made waves when he joked about being excited to see Jada Pinkett Smith in a potential G.I. Jane sequel, referring to her shaved head. Pinkett Smith, who has been vocal about having alopecia, rolled her eyes during the broadcast, but the jab upset her husband even more.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum stormed the stage during the broadcast and slapped Rock across the face before returning to his seat. Smith then yelled at the comedian, shouting, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth.”
While sources exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, March 28, that the vibe in the audience immediately shifted after it became clear that Smith’s outburst was not part of the show. The actors in attendance, however, did give the Philadelphia native a standing ovation when he later took home the best actor award for his role in King Richard.
During his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow actors, but didn’t directly address Rock following the altercation. “Love will make you do crazy things,” the Wild Wild West actor said.
Smith later publicly apologized for his actions via a social media statement. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” he wrote on Monday. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
The Hitch star then directed his apology at the Saturday Night Live alum, writing, “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.”
Although Smith took ownership for his response to Rock’s remarks, multiple sources told Us on Wednesday that the Men in Black actor has not privately reached out to the Madagascar star following the Oscars.
Despite the uncomfortable situation, Rock has decided to stay focused on his tour, a second insider told Us. “He’s moving on and is looking forward to his upcoming gigs,” the source said.
The South Carolina native has even seen an uptick in ticket sales for his Ego Death World Tour, according to StubHub, which reported 25 times the daily sales for Rock’s shows following the awards show drama.
The Academy, for their part, have released several statements about the altercation and launched a formal review regarding the events that took place on Sunday. “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” they said in a statement on Wednesday, via the Associated Press, claiming they tried have Smith leave the show to no avail. “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 organization called Smith’s actions “deeply shocking,” and apologized to Rock for what he experienced while presenting. “Thank you [Chris] for your resilience in that moment,” the Academy continued. “We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”
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