Chris Rock returned to the stage March 30 to kick off his Ego Death World Tour, and of course the comic couldn’t not mention the viral moment from the 2022 Oscars with Will Smith.
The “King Richard” star and, later, the Best Actor winner rushed the stage after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. Pinkett Smith was diagnosed with alopecia, a hair loss condition.
Smith assaulted Rock as Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary, and yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth” during the 94th Academy Awards on March 27. Smith has since apologized to both the Academy and presenter Rock in an Instagram statement. A formal disciplinary review by the Academy is currently underway.
Meanwhile, Rock broke his silence about the altercation during the first stop of his sold-out comedy tour, starting at the Wilbur in Boston. The stand-up comedian was met with a two-minute standing ovation by the audience, to which Rock said, “You got me all misty and shit.”
He proceeded to joke, “How was your weekend?” before briefly acknowledging “what happened” to him on Sunday.
“I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend, and I’m still kind of processing what happened,” Rock said. “So at some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it’ll be serious, and it’ll be funny.”
He continued, “I’m going to tell some jokes. It’s nice to just be out.”
Rock noted during the hour-long stand-up show that “except for some other pretty weird things, life is pretty good right now.”
The aftermath of Smith attacking Rock has led to a divided Hollywood, with some stars like Tiffany Haddish applauding Smith’s actions while others — Oscars co-hosts Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes — have called the altercation traumatic and gross.
“You assault somebody, you get escorted out of the building and that’s it. For them to let him continue, I thought it was gross,” Sykes said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” adding that she expects a personal apology from Smith.
“We were the hosts. This is our house, we’re inviting you in, we’re going to take care of y’all tonight and make sure you have a good time,” Sykes said. “And no one has apologized to us. And we worked really hard to put that show together. I’m like, with the industry itself, like, ‘What the hell is this?'”
Rock, however, did apologize for being involved in an incident that took away the spotlight. “That’s just who Chris is,” Sykes summed up of her friend.