Chris Rock Takes Comedy Microphone And Still Handles Oscar Slap – The Denver Post

By MICHAEL CASEY

BOSTON (AP) — Comedian Chris Rock, who returned to the stage on Wednesday for the first time since being punched by Will Smith at the Oscars, received several standing ovations at a sold-out show in Boston before even telling one joke.

But Rock only spoke briefly about the blow, saying he was “still sort of processing what happened” Sunday. He neither mentioned Smith nor his wife by name.

“Besides the weirdness, life is pretty good,” Rock said at one point halfway through his first of two sets. The Boston nighttime performances came just three days after Smith slammed the comedian for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock wore all white for his performance and seemed almost ashamed of the multiple standing ovations he received. As the applause continued for minutes – with fans shouting “I love you, Chris!” shouted. — the comedian seemed to be getting emotional, a guest sitting by the stage told The Associated Press.

“How was your weekend?” Rock joked before getting into his set.

Ticket prices skyrocketed after the showdown at the Oscars, but the comedian made it clear he wouldn’t talk about it extensively on Wednesday.

“If you came to hear that, I’m not… I had that whole show I wrote earlier this weekend,” Rock said.

Although he never touched on the Smith showdown at the Academy Awards, he spent much of the night poking around celebrities and politicians. Among them were the Duchess of Sussex, the Kardashians, as well as President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former President Donald Trump.

Audience members shouted their support for the comedian. At least one person yelled for Rock Smith to sue. Outside the room, a fan showed off a T-shirt with the “GI Jane” logo and Pinkett Smith’s face. Another had made a shirt that showed Smith’s face and showed a crude joke about the couple’s relationship.

At Sunday’s Oscars, Rock had joked 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”.

George Guay, a 24-year-old Boston fan who grew up with “Everybody Hates Chris,” said he bought a ticket after the Academy Awards.

“He’s the most popular celebrity so I want to be here,” Guay said before the show, adding that he hoped Rock would open with a response to the situation. “I just want a good show.”

After the show, some fans were a little disappointed that he didn’t address the controversy more directly. But they also said they could tell from his body language that he wasn’t sure how to do it.

“As soon as I saw him, his mood was a little shaken,” said Dave Henriquez, a 48-year-old musician from Newton, Massachusetts. “I understood it weighed on him.”

Erin Ryan, a 33-year-old teacher from Newton who was also with Henriquez, said she felt Rock wanted to perform his act, “not standing up about that one incident.”

Kathryn West-Hines, a 50-year-old flavor instructor from Malden, Massachusetts, said she came away with even more respect for Rock. “Loved it, classy,” she said, adding that he wouldn’t let “what happened on Sunday” diminish his shine.

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.”

Wanda Sykes, who co-hosted the Oscars with Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, said she felt physically ill after Smith punched Rock. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that will air on April 7, Sykes also said that Smith should not have been allowed to stay and receive his award.

Several stars rushed to advise and calm Smith after he returned to his seat, 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.

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