Ever since getting slapped on live television by someone who soon thereafter won an Oscar, Chris Rock has stayed quiet. The comic has not addressed the incident, in which he told a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith at this year’s Academy Awards, prompting a violent outburst by her husband, Will Smith. But he did have some stand-up shows already lined up, meaning he was forced to address it — which he did as minimally as possible.
As per Variety, Rock made his first post-slap appearance at a show in Boston, and he started off by addressing the elephant in the room — and then quickly shooing it off-stage.
“How was your weekend?” Rock told the crowd after getting a huge standing ovation. He then admitted the hilarious set about a shocking thing that occurred only three days before will have to wait. “I don’t have a bunch of s*it 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 shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
The audience proceeded to chant “F*ck Will Smith,” but Rock tried to move on. “I’m going to tell some jokes,” Rock told everyone. “It’s nice to just be out.”
On Sunday, Rock appeared late in the show to present the award to Best Documentary. That trophy eventually went to Summer of Soul. Before that, though, Rock made a joke about a Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Her husband then stormed the stage, smacked Rock across the face, then shouted obscenities at him. Rock tried his best to handle the incident with aplomb, not fighting back and quickly getting things back to the award.
Rock’s poise amidst the unexpected attack has been widely applauded, and sales to his stand-up shows have skyrocketed ever since. (Smith’s actions, meanwhile, has been condemned by many.) Pretty soon, though, paying audiences will get to hear what will no doubt be a hilarious breakdown of what may wind up being the most shocking thing to happen in almost a century of Academy Awards.