'Nice to be out' | 

Chris Rock jokes 'how was your weekend' as he kicks off comedy tour after 'the slap'

'I'm still kind of processing what happened,' he added, 'so, at some point, I'll talk about that s***'

Will Smith hits Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars in Hollywood, Los Angeles, US, March 27, 2022. Picture by REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Chris Rock kicked off his comedy tour in Boston to a sold-out crowd at the Wilbur Theater with a wry “how was your weekend”.

The reference to the now infamous slap was greeted with thunderous applause, as one audience member shouted out “F*** Will Smith!”

However, the comedian, who walked out in a white suit to a huge ovation, seemed almost surprised at the reaction, exclaiming, "Whoa, okay!".

As the applause continued, Rock implored the crowd, "Yo, let me do the show!"

He then said: "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.

“I'm still kind of processing what happened," he added, "so, at some point, I'll talk about that s***. And it will be serious and funny."

He added” "I'm going to tell some jokes. It's nice to just be out.”

Rock was reportedly given a standing ovation before then kicking off his set.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences had asked Will Smith to leave Sunday's Oscars after hitting Chris Rock but had refused.

On Wednesday, the academy suggested that it attempted to remove the actor from the audience.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the academy said.

“While we would like to clarify that Mr Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognise we could have handled the situation differently.”

The academy's board of governors met on Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations against the group's standards of conduct.

The academy said Smith has the opportunity to defend himself in a written response before the board meets again on April 18. The academy said disciplinary action for Smith could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.

The film academy earlier condemned Smith's onstage assault of Rock. But it used stronger language on Wednesday.

“Mr Smith’s actions at the 94th Oscars were a deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in-person and on television," the academy said.

“Mr Rock, we apologise to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment. We also apologise to our nominees, guests and viewers for what transpired during what should have been a celebratory event.”

Ticket sales for Chris Rock’s stand-up tour increase following Oscars altercation (Chris Pizzello/AP)

On Monday, Smith issued an apology to Rock, the academy and to viewers, saying “I was out of line and I was wrong.”

A formal review into the incident has been launched to discuss what disciplinary measures will be taken, and Smith will reportedly be given the chance to provide a written defence.

The Academy said disciplinary action for Smith could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.

The actor apologised to The Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech following his win, and later to Rock on social media.

In a statement posted to Instagram he admitted he had reacted “emotionally” to the joke, but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

Pinkett Smith also called for a “season of healing” following the incident.

Smith’s behaviour has been heavily criticised by his Hollywood contemporaries, including Oscars’ so-host Wanda Sykes.

Speaking on the Ellen DeGeneres show, the actress and comedian said she was “still traumatised” and felt disappointed by the way the show had handled the “sickening” incident.

She also praised Rock’s response after the altercation, revealing he had approached her to apologise about the incident because he knew it would overshadow her presenting efforts alongside Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.

“I just felt so awful for my friend Chris. It was sickening, absolutely sickening. I physically felt ill and I’m still a little traumatised by it,” she said.

“And for them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, I was like, ‘How gross is this? This is just the wrong message’.”

“You assault somebody, you get escorted out the building and that’s it. But for them to let him continue, I thought was gross.”

Oscars showrunner Will Packer has described the altercation as “a very painful moment for me.”

But others went further, with comedian Jim Carrey calling the Oscars audience “spineless” for applauding Smith’s win following his behaviour.

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