Chris Rock took the stage in Boston earlier tonight, launching into the latest leg of his Ego Death stand-up tour—i.e., the first time he’s addressed the public since Sunday night, when a joke Rock made about Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars led her husband, Will Smith, to walk on stage and slap Rock in the face.
Rock, obviously, wasn’t going to be able to get away with not talking about the incident at all, despite the fact that he’s stayed very quiet about the event since the moment he awarded Questlove and his fellow producers their Best Documentary Oscars and walked off the Dolby Theater stage. Per Variety, he addressed the crowd at tonight’s show with an ironic “How was your weekend?”
But Rock is not, for the most part, the sort of comic to go aggressively off-book when he’s got a carefully crafted stand-up set to deliver. “I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened,” he cautioned the crowd, “So if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend.” Still, he assured fans, “I’m still kind of processing what happened. So, at some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.” (He then notably ignored an audience member’s cry of “Fuck Will Smith,” and got down to the business of doing his job.)
Ticket sales reportedly surged for Rock’s tour in the wake of the incident—although we should cautiously remind ourselves that we’re talking about Chris Rock, a guy who’s been consistently selling out the biggest venues in stand-up for decades at this point, and who wasn’t hurting for ticket sales beforehand. In any case, there’s undeniably been a huge uptick in focus on him and his career, with local news crews reportedly crowding Boston’s Wilbur Theater ahead of tonight’s performance.