Chris Rock took to the stage on Wednesday night for the first time since he was slapped across the face by Will Smith at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday. Rock performed 2 shows at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, both were sold out.
Variety has shared audio content on Twitter that was recorded during the first show. In the recording, you can hear Rock address the crowd and indirectly allude to the events that transpired on Sunday night by asking, “How was your weekend?!?”
Rock chose to stick with his original set and told the crowd, “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,”
He also explained to the audience, “I’m still processing what happened.”
You can listen to the audio here:
According to local Boston news reports, Rock seemed overwhelmed by the support he received from the crowd as they gave him a standing ovation and extended applause, which brought him to tears.
Back in LA, it was announced that Smith was asked to leave the Dolby Theatre after slapping Chris Rock across the face, but the Best Actor winner refused. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement to the press announcing that “disciplinary proceedings” have begun against Will Smith for his behavior at the Oscars. The statement also includes an apology to Chris Rock, as well as to the nominees, guests and viewers.
The full statement:
“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.
Consistent with the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, as well as California law, Mr. Smith is being provided at least 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response. At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.
Mr. Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television. Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologize to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.
Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. 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.”
Both BAFTA and SAG-AFTRA condemned Smith’s actions and two of the co-hosts of the Academy Awards, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes have shared that they feel traumatized by the violence they witnessed on the stage, along with the rest of the world. Chris Rock declined to file a police report or press charges against the Academy Award winning actor for the misdemeanor assault.
Will Smith issued an apology on Sunday night on Instagram:
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.
I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.
I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.
I am a work in progress.”
Chris Rock will be keeping himself busy on tour while Will Smith awaits his fate. “Other than the weird thing, life is pretty good,” Rock said at one point midway through his act on Wednesday night.