- Chris Rock performed his first stand up set since Sunday night’s Oscars.
- The comedian briefly addressed being slapped by Will Smith during the show.
- “I’m still processing what happened,” he said, before moving on to his pre-planned set.
After days of silence on the matter, Chris Rock made his first public statement about Will Smith slapping him during Sunday night’s Academy Awards broadcast.
Rock made the comments during a Wednesday stand-up set at The Wilbur in Boston.
“What’s up, Boston?” he began, according to People. “How was your weekend?!”
The comedian told the sold out crowd he had written the show he was about to perform before the slapping incident.
“I’m still processing what happened,” Rock said, according to a CNN journalist in the audience. “So at some point I’ll talk about that shit. It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”
Rock received two standing ovations from the audience and had tears in his eyes over the support, CNN reported.
Smith stunned the Oscars audience and viewers watching from home when he walked on stage at the Dolby Theater and struck Rock after the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett Smith starring in “G.I. Jane 2,” a reference to the 1997 movie starring Demi Moore with a shaved head.
Jada Pinkett Smith, who had a shaved head at the event, has previously spoken about her struggles with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss.
After striking Rock, Smith returned to his seat and shouted “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth” twice.
Shortly after the incident, Smith took to the stage again to accept the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard. He apologized to the Academy and later issued an apology to Rock, calling his actions “unacceptable and inexcusable.”
The Academy said Monday it was launching a formal investigation.
Rock’s stand-up set on Wednesday was his first public appearance since the incident. One fan at the show told Insider they were excited to see Rock perform, even if he thought his joke about Pinkett Smith was a bit off-color.
“I was watching the Oscars live. I was shocked,” Jay Dee said, adding he thought the joke was “a little over the edge” but that he was “amazed” Rock kept his composure after Smith slapped him.
Another fan, who has alopecia, was outside the theater and trying to buy tickets for the later set.
“I’ve always loved him. I wanted to buy a ticket,” Chrissa Kaselis, who works with the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, told reporters outside the venue.
“I don’t think that he meant this as an insult to the people with alopecia,” she said, adding: “I think he’s a comedian, it was part of his show.”
She said that not every person with alopecia feels the way she does and that many were offended by the joke, while others were happy to see the rise in awareness about the condition.
“It hurts when you lose your hair, it’s emotional,” Kaselis said, adding that Pinkett Smith’s hair loss “must really affect” her and her husband.
Fans told Insider after the show that Rock was met with overwhelming support by the audience.
“There were several standing ovations at the start. We were clapping for like 20 minutes. He came out crying because everyone was happy,” Katheryn West-Hines said.