Chris Rock mostly avoids Will Smith’s slap during Indio show
Comedian Chris Rock kept Will Smith’s name out of his mouth during a stand-up show at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, only making a brief reference to being slapped by the actor at last month’s Oscars.
“I’m OK, I have a whole show and I’m not talking about that until I get paid. Life is good. I got my hearing back,” Rock said upon taking the stage Friday night.
While Rock poked fun at other celebrities and politicians, including Hillary Clinton, Meghan Markle and the Kardashians, he made no other reference to the slap.
Rock was on stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood to present an Oscar for best documentary when he made a joke referencing Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head during the live television broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards on March 27. Pinkett Smith — Will Smith’s wife — suffers from the hair-loss condition alopecia.
Will Smith walked onto the stage and smacked Rock in the face, then returned to his seat and twice shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.”
Smith later won the best-actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard,” but the evening was marred by his outburst and on Friday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences barred him from attending the annual Oscars ceremony for the next 10 years.
Smith said he would “accept and respect” the ban in a brief statement issued Friday. Smith had announced his resignation from the Academy last week, saying his actions were “shocking, painful and inexcusable.”
Rock’s general avoidance of the topic during his one-night stop in the Inland Empire was in keeping with the rest of his “Ego Death” world tour. During the tour’s opening show at The Wilbur in Boston a few days after the Oscars, Rock briefly addressed the “slap heard ’round the world.”
“How was your weekend?” Rock said as he began that show. “I don’t have a bunch of (expletive) 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 (expletive). And it will be serious and funny.”
An audience member then chanted “F–k Will Smith!” before Rock continued. “I’m going to tell some jokes. It’s nice to just be out,” he said before beginning his material.
Ticket prices for Rock’s comedy tour have soared since the Oscars. TickPick, a secondary ticket seller, has seen a 641% price increase.
“We sold more tickets to see Chris Rock overnight than we did in the past month combined,” the company tweeted the day after the Oscars.
Rock was set to perform Saturday night at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno, Nevada.
The tour is scheduled to conclude at the Dolby Theatre — site of the infamous Oscars incident — on Nov. 17–19.