Chris Rock Reacts to Audience Member Bad-Mouthing Will Smith
Chris Rock stepped in when an audience member tried to drag Will Smith at his recent comedy show.
At Sunday’s Oscars, Will and Chris shared a heated exchange over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair — and to the shock of viewers and audience members, it turned physical, with Will slapping Chris. Jada suffers from alopecia, reportedly unbeknownst to Chris at the time.
Now, Chris is on his Ego Death stand-up tour, where fans are showing their dislike for Will.
People reports that at Rock’s Thursday night show at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, an audience member yelled out, “F—k Will Smith!” Chris wasn’t having it, saying, "No, no, no, no, no..."
The night before, Chris joked with the crowd, “How was your weekend?” He went on to say, “I don’t have a bunch of s--t 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 s--. And it will be serious and funny.”
Someone also yelled, “F—k Will Smith!” at the Wednesday show, but Rock simply replied, “I’m going to tell some jokes. It’s nice to just be out.”
At a second show Wednesday night, Chris disputed rumors that he had talked to Will, saying, "I haven't talked to anyone, despite what you heard."
While Chris hasn’t formally spoken out, Oscar producer Will Packer praised the comedian on “Good Morning America” for how he handled the situation.
Speaking to ABC News’ TJ Holmes, Packer credited Chris with “saving” the show, saying, “Because Chris handled the moment with such grace and aplomb, it allowed the show to continue,” explaining that the night “could have gone so many different ways” after the smackdown. “Because Chris continued the way he did — he completed the category, he handed the trophy to Questlove, somebody who was really robbed of their moment — it gave us license to continue the show, which is what we were trying to do.”
Calling the incident “sad and disappointing” to see, he said, “It was such a huge moment and… it wasn’t something that we were gonna come back from within that night, within this week. I don’t know when we’ll come back and people will be talking about anything else other than this show.”
Packer indicated that Rock was okay with Smith staying at the ceremony, where he went on to accept Best Actor for his role in “King Richard,” but a TMZ source says Chris was never asked.
The insider told TMZ, "Chris told Packer, 'I'm not pressing charges. All I want to do is leave.' He was never asked if he wanted Will removed.”
After the incident Smith issued a public apology, calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.” He wrote on Instagram, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive… Jokes at my expense are 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,” Will continued. “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.”