While I know Will Smith will face larger repercussions for what happened at the Oscars – and we’ll talk about that in depth in separate posts – it should be noted that there seems to be a net positive effect from the slapping incident. The Oscar ratings were up, and the constantly-struggling award show is now more vital and gossip-worthy than ever. Chris Rock’s standup tour saw a huge surge in ticket sales following the slap too. Chris was back on stage this week in Boston. He did back-to-back sold-out standup shows at The Wilbur last night, and this was Rock’s first public statement after he got slapped, not counting “it was a GI Jane joke.” He didn’t say much about it:
The 57-year-old comedian had a show at The Wilbur in Boston Wednesday night, where he addressed the ordeal, telling the audience, “I’m still processing what happened.”
A very rowdy crowd screamed Rock’s name before his first appearance since the 94th Academy Awards, according to an audience member. The comedian then took the stage dressed in all white and received a standing ovation.
“What’s up, Boston?” he asked the crowd, before adding: “How was your weekend?!”
After Rock said that he was still “processing” what happened at this year’s Oscars, he told fans in the audience that he would probably talk about what happened at some point in a serious manner, according to the audience member, but that he had written a whole show full of jokes for Wednesday evening.
Though there were some in the crowd yelling “Will Smith” during the show, the audience member says Rock did not acknowledge the shouts and never mentioned the Best Actor Oscar winner by name once throughout his set.
“Except for a couple weird things, life is pretty good right now,” Rock said later in his standup routine.
The only thing different in his 10 pm show was that Rock told the audience, “I haven’t talked to anyone, despite what you heard” and that he didn’t want to “talk about that sh-t.” He never mentioned Will Smith by name either.
There have been some jokes and talk about how Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry and the Black Hollywood elites at the Oscars put out the group text (that night) that this issue was going to be handled in-house, within the community. I believe that! But I also think it’s interesting that Chris and his people (“sources close to Rock”) keep putting out the message that he hasn’t talked to anyone, that no one is talking to him. Perhaps Rock is looking for guidance for how he should proceed as well, and that’s why he isn’t really addressing the situation at the moment. Denzel absolutely needs to give him a call. Tyler Perry too. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to organize a private, face-to-face airing of grievances between Will, Jada and Chris as well. Get it all out, and figure out what they’re all going to say publicly too.
Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.