Chris Rock receives standing ovation at first performance since Will Smith slap

Despite what some conspiracy theorists think, Chris Rock hitting the road for a comedy tour right after presenting at the 2022 Oscars was just a coincidence. It’s not like the performer, 30-plus years on the scene, wasn’t going to have a successful run. But Will Smith smacking Rock on live television certainly ensured sold-out arenas for the next stretch of time (and lined the pockets of StubHub profiteers, but that’s showbiz.)

The 57-year-old comic kicked off the tour at the 1,200-seat venue The Wilbur in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday night. Reports say he received multiple standing ovations before he even opened his mouth, with someone in the crowd shouting “F–k Will Smith!” getting hearty applause of his own

But if people were expecting a lengthy comedic inquiry into Sunday night’s transgression, they may have been disappointed. While he did open with a baiting, “so how was your weekend?” Rock confessed that he had a night of pre-written material to get to, and wasn’t about to ditch it all at the last minute.

He added that he was “still processing what happened” but hinted that in time he will “talk about that sh–” in a way that is “a little serious” and “a little funny.”

At least one fan came to the show in a “G.I. Jane” t-shirt, referencing the zing Rock made about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hairstyle. Unknown still is whether Rock knew that Pinkett Smith has the condition known as alopecia. Though it is still unclear, Rock’s brother and manager, Tony Rock, tweeted a reminder earlier this week that Chris produced and starred in a documentary called “Good Hair,” which examines the sometimes complex relationship Black women have with their hair.

While reports from the show make it sound like a typically successful gig (on anti-vaxxers complaining they don’t know what’s in the shot, “I don’t know what’s in Fruit Loops, but I know what’s not in there: fruit”), some fans felt burnt that they bought tickets in a post-Slap price hike frenzy didn’t get the Will Smith rebuttal they were looking for. “I want my money back, I didn’t pay $400 to see nothing,” one attendee whined to Fox News. Despite seeing a full set of original Chris Rock comedy, they still complained, “we didn’t come here just for that.”

Rock’s tour schedule keeps him busy straight through fall, hitting Vegas in May, and Chicago and New York City in October. 

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