Chris Rock is breaking his silence after the slap heard around the world.
The comedian returned to the stage for the first time since Sunday’s Oscars during a sold-out stand-up show at the Wilbur Theater in Boston on Wednesday night (March 30), where he spoke out about the incident.
“Whoa, OK!” he said after receiving a standing ovation, which lasted for nearly two minutes before he tried to hush the crowd: “Yo, let me do the show!”
After the applause died down, he addressed the elephant in the room.
“How was your weekend?” he asked, according to Variety. “I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
An audience member yelled out “F**k Will Smith!” but Rock ignored the comment and continued with his hour-long set.
“I’m going to tell some jokes,” he said. “It’s nice to just be out.”
According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Smith was asked to leave the Dolby Theatre after slapping Rock but refused. “Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy said in a statement. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”
However, sources with direct knowledge say Smith was never asked to leave despite the Academy’s claim otherwise. According to TMZ, he was told by Oscars producer Will Packer that he could stay. Packer reportedly approached Smith 35 minutes after the slap and said, “We do not want you to leave.” Shortly after, Smith went on to win his Best Actor Oscar for King Richard.