BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Comedian Chris Rock will make his first public appearance on Wednesday since Oscar-winning actor Will Smith punched him for a joke about Smith’s wife during the Academy Awards show.
Rock will perform six shows at the Wilbur Theater as part of its ‘Ego Death’ World Tour. The Boston shows are sold out and some resale websites sold tickets for over $500.
READ MORE: I-Team: Advocates for interlock devices as drunk driving deaths rise nationally
The first set was supposed to start at 7.30 pm, but was delayed. There is no phone policy in the theater for the shows. Those in attendance were told to put their phones in a special pouch until the show is over.
The performance comes just three days after Smith hit Rock on the Oscar stage, stunning audiences at the 94th Academy Awards and those watching at home.
Rock had been joking about Jada Pinkett Smith’s flashy haircut. Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about her diagnosis of alopecia, which can cause baldness.
‘Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2, I can’t wait to see it,’ Rock said as he handed out an award, comparing Pinkett Smith to Demi Moore’s character ‘GI Jane’, who had a buzz cut in the 1997 film.
Smith promptly rose from his seat at the front of the room and went onstage, punching Rock in the face before sitting back down and yelling at Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.
Within an hour, Smith won the Best Actor award and received a standing ovation. During his five-minute acceptance speech, Smith spoke about defending his family and apologized to the academy. A day later, Smith apologized to the comedian, the academy and viewers at home, saying he was “outside the lines” and that his actions “are not indicative of the man I want to be”.
Aubrey Collins of Portsmouth, Rhode Island bought two tickets to Wednesday’s show at the Oscars. “I immediately bought tickets,” Collins said. “This is too good to be true.”
READ MORE: Boston Duck Tours Begins 29th Season April 1
Collins said the tickets were $100, but he could get nearly ten times as much. He said it was tempting to sell the tickets, but he was looking forward to what Rock had to say.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences condemned Smith for hitting Rock. The board of governors met on Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violating the group’s standards of conduct. The academy said it had asked Smith to leave Sunday’s Oscar ceremony after hitting Rock, but he declined.
Los Angeles police said on Sunday they were aware of what happened, but would not investigate because the person involved refused to report to the police.
Pinkett Smith responded Tuesday with an image on Instagram that read, “This is a season of healing and I’m here for it.” She offered no further comment.
It wasn’t the first time Rock had made a joke at the expense of Pinkett Smith. When he hosted the 2016 Oscars, some people boycotted the ceremony because of the #OscarsSoWhite group of nominees, including the Smiths. Rock then said: “Boycotting Jada the Oscars is like boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I was not invited.”
Some academy members, such as writer-producer Marshall Herskovitz, called on the academy to take disciplinary action against Smith.
The Screen Actors Guild also weighed in. The film, television and radio union called the confrontation “unacceptable.”
Some also questioned the decision to let Smith sit front and center after hitting Rock. Several stars rushed to advise and calm Smith, including Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry.
The drama overshadowed some historic Oscar wins. The deaf family drama “CODA” became the first film with a largely deaf cast to win the Best Picture award. For the first time, a streaming service, Apple TV+, grabbed Hollywood’s highest honor, signaling a dramatic shift in Hollywood and in the cinema. Wins for ‘West Side Story’ Ariana DeBose, ‘CODA’ Troy Kotsur and ‘The Power of the Dog’ director Jane Campion had all made history.
MORE NEWS: ‘Good Friends With Both Of Them’: Lenny Clarke doesn’t take sides after Will Smith slaps Chris Rock
(© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)