Chris Rock seems unbothered by the “slap heard around the world” almost four months after Will Smith unexpectedly hit him onstage at the Academy Awards. The 57-year-old comic reportedly addressed the incident while performing at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey on Sunday, July 24. The comic said that even though the slap “hurt,” he didn’t let it phase him, according to an eyewitness who recounted some jokes to Us Weekly. “I’m not a victim,” he reportedly told the crowd.
While there was much controversy after Will, 53, rushed the stage and smacked Chris, the Tamborine comic said he bounced back, seemingly referencing how he had comedy shows scheduled shortly after the appearance. “Yeah, that s**t hurt, motherf**ker,” he said. “I shook that s**t off and went to work the next day… I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.” In another joke about the pain of getting slapped, Chris played off common idioms. “Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face,” he reportedly quipped.
Shortly after the Oscars incident happened, Chris had shied away from speaking about the slap. At his first show after the Academy Awards, he mentioned that he was taking time before addressing it. “I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kinda processing what happened. So at some point, I’ll talk about that s**t. So I’m gonna tell some jokes,” he said at an April gig in Boston. In the months since the slap, he’s peppered his act with a few references to the incident.
After the incident, Will had released a statement resigning from the Academy, who also gave him a decade-long ban in April. After the slap, he also issued a public apology to the comedian in March. “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,” wrote at the time.