Three days after he was attacked by Will Smith at the Oscars, Chris Rock made his first public appearance at the opening show of his Ego Death World Tour in Boston and broke his silence about the altercation.
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Coming out on stage at about 8 PM ET, Rock was greeted by the sold-out crowd at the packed Wilbur theater with a standing ovation that lasted 2-3 minutes as fans stood up, sat down and then stood up again to applaud him.
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He did not directly address the incident at the start of his standup but asked the room, “How was your weekend?” Noting that he is “still kinda processing what happened” and that “at some point” he will talk about “that sh*t,” and “it will be serious, and it will be funny,” he told the crowd that he was “going to tell some jokes” before segueing to his set as an audience member yelled “F*ck Will Smith!”
We will have a detailed coverage of Rock’s show later tonight from Mike Fleming, Jr. who is in the theater.
In one of the most shocking moments in Academy Awards history, Oscar nominee (and eventual winner) Smith walked on stage and slapped presenter Rock after the comedian had directed a joke at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith subsequently addressed the altercation in his Best Actor acceptance speech, in which he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees but not to Rock. Smith followed up with a written apology to Rock on Instagram on Monday, while Rock had remained silent until tonight.
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In an intriguing confluence of events, shortly before Rock took the stage in Boston, the Academy’s Board of Governors convened an emergency meeting to discuss Smith’s standing in the organization in the wake of the incident. The Board began disciplinary proceedings against Smith and determined the actor could face suspension, expulsion or other sanctions, which will be decided at the Board’s next meeting on April 18.
Demand for Rock’s comedy tour has been skyrocketing after the slap, with his first dates quickly selling out after the Oscar ceremony. The markup on tickets for his first two shows at The Wilbur theater in Downtown Boston has sent prices soaring to $1,000 a pop. Rock will be in Boston until Friday before moving to Atlantic City.
Below is the street in front of Wilbur theater, with crowds — and media — gathering for Rock’s opening night.
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