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Big Willie be damned, I’m focusing on my rocks, says Chris

World

Big Willie be damned, I’m focusing on my rocks, says Chris

At a Boston concert, Chris Rock dodged the Oscars incident, revealing instead that he’s having a vasectomy

Reuters, Tim McLaughlin and Lisa Richwine
Jada Pinkett Smith on the red carpet at the 94th Oscars on Sunday.
LEGGY LADY Jada Pinkett Smith on the red carpet at the 94th Oscars on Sunday.
Image: Michael Baker/A.M.P.A.S.

Comedian Chris Rock, in his first public comments since he was slapped in the face by actor Will Smith at the Oscars on Sunday, said he was “still processing” the incident that made headlines around the world.

“How was YOUR weekend?” Rock asked a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on Wednesday night. He made it clear from the onset he did not plan to address the incident at length.

“I’m still processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that shit. It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes,” the 57-year-old said to a standing ovation.

“Let me be all misty and shit,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “I don’t have a bunch of shit to say about that, so if you came here for that ... I had written a whole show before this weekend.”

Perhaps Rock’s biggest revelation was his plan to undergo a vasectomy next week. He joked that he made his decision after seeing 78-year-old actor Robert De Niro drop off his 11-year-old daughter at school.

“I've already seen Hannah Montana once and that was enough,” Rock quipped.

At the Academy Awards, Rock was on stage to present the trophy for best documentary. He made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, that referenced the 1997 film GI Jane, for which actress Demi Moore shaved her head. It was unclear whether Rock was aware Pinkett Smith has a condition that causes hair loss.

Chris Rock reacts after being hit by Will Smith at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
WHAT! Chris Rock reacts after being hit by Will Smith at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
Image: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Smith strode onto the stage and slapped Rock, before winning best actor less than an hour later. The actor later apologised to Rock and the academy, which has initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith.

The academy’s board will discuss what to do at an April 18 meeting and “may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the bylaws and standards of conduct”, it said on Wednesday. Smith, who the academy said was asked to leave the ceremony, but refused, will have a chance to submit a written response before the meeting.

“Mr Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in person and on television. Mr Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment,” it said.

During his 80-minute set in Boston, Rock never mentioned Smith. Instead, he launched into a stream of profanity-laced barbs directed at Britain’s royal family, Meghan Markle, former US president Donald Trump, US President Joe Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Subaru and even his oldest daughter Lola.

“He came out swinging, but not about Will Smith,” said Ramsay Fretz, a 32-year-old Boston real estate agent. “It’s nice to see someone equally attack everybody.”

After the slap, TickPick, an online marketplace for events, said it sold more tickets overnight to Rock’s Ego Death tour than it did in the past month combined.

Balcony seat tickets with a face value of $61 (about R880) fetched nearly $1,000 (about R14,500) after Smith slapped Rock in front of nearly 17-million television viewers.

Some attendees in Boston were disappointed Rock refrained from verbally retaliating against Smith.

“You know, it was the elephant in the room,” said audience member Jay Dee. “Everyone was waiting for the ‘aha’ moment that didn’t come.”

— Reuters and Bloomberg

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