Chris Rock At Boston's Wilbur Theatre: I'm Still ‘Processing What Happened'

94th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

Photo: Getty Images

BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - Comedian Chris Rock returned to the stage Wednesday for the first time since being slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars this past Sunday.

After a warm welcome and standing ovation, Rock asked the crowd at the Wilbur Theatre, "how was your weekend?" and said he was "still kind of processing what happened."

Rock is performing six shows in Boston, all at the Wilbur, as part of his 'Ego Death' World Tour. Tickets are sold out for the Boston shows, with prices skyrocketing after Sunday's incident with Smith.

Some fans who bought tickets after the Oscars were hoping he addressed the incident.

"He said he was going to touch base on what happened on Sunday but he didn't." One theatre-goer told WBZ's Jim MacKay.

Fans were not the only ones to show up to the show. Kevin C Peterson, founder of the New Democracy Coalition, a non-profit organization that focuses on civic engagement took the opportunity to speak out against violence.

"The message we would like to convey more specifically, is that this issue draws to our attention the unrecorded reality of Black on Black violence, not only in the city of Boston, but across the nation." Peterson said outside the theatre, calling the incident a 'teachable moment'.

Wednesday nights performance came just three days after Smith slapped Rock on the Oscars stage, stunning the crowd at the 94th Academy Awards, along with those watching at home.

Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's buzzed hairstyle. Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about her diagnosis of alopecia, which can cause hair loss and ultimately baldness.

“Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” Rock said while presenting an award, comparing Pinkett Smith to Demi Moore’s “G.I. Jane” character, who had a buzz cut in the 1997 film.

That's when Smith stood up from his seat at the front of the venue and approached the stage, slapping Rock across the face before sitting back down and yelling at Rock to keep his wife's name "out of his mouth."

Within an hour of the incident, Smith won best actor and received a standing ovation. During his five-minute acceptance speech, Smith talked about defending his family and apologized to the academy. A day later, Smith issued an apology to the comedian, to the academy and to viewers at home, saying he was “out of line” and that his actions are “not indicative of the man I want to be.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences condemned Smith striking Rock. Its board of governors met Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations of the group’s standards of conduct.

The academy said it had asked Smith to leave Sunday’s Oscar ceremony after hitting Rock, but he refused to do so.

WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports

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