A couple minutes after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, and it became clear that the whole thing was not some kind of elaborate joke gone very wrong, a friend texted me to ask what I thought about what had happened. My response:
“Chris Rock’s next standup special is going to be incredible.”
While Rock did his first standup comedy gig since the Oscars tonight at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, he’s not quite ready with that special just yet. Mostly, he performed a new set of unrelated material that he’d written and developed before the Academy Awards. So any kind of jokes about Will Smith or King Richard are still a ways off.
Still, Rock did briefly address the controversy and the incident publicly for the first time. As he first came on stage for the evening, Rock quipped “how was your weekend?”
“I don’t have a bunch of s— about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend,” he continued, adding “I’m still kind of processing what happened.” Aren’t we all.
Shortly before Rock took the stage in Boston, the Academy released a statement saying it had “initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct” and that after a vote by the Board of Governors of the Academy next month, Smith could face suspension or expulsion from the group for his actions. They also claimed that Smith had been “asked to leave the ceremony and refused.” Instead, he remained at the show, and when his name was announced as the winner of this year’s Best Actor Oscar, he was allowed to collect it and give an acceptance speech.
Back in Boston, before launching into his planned material, Chris Rock promised “At some point I’ll talk about that s—. And it will be serious and funny.” We can’t wait.
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