Comedian Chris Rock dropped some trash talk about Will Smith slapping him at the Oscars at a show Thursday in Los Angeles — commiserating with Dave Chappelle, who just this past week was also assaulted on stage.
In one key exchange, Chappelle reportedly told Rock, “At least you got smacked by someone of repute.” Rock quipped back, “I got smacked by the softest n***a that ever rapped.”
The two comedians spoke onstage two days after Chappelle was attacked by an armed assailant during his performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California.
On March 27, actor Will Smith marched onto the stage at the Oscars and smacked Rock across the face after the comedian made a joke at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The moment triggered a social media feeding frenzy, with millions of people wondering how Rock would turn it into material for his standup.
Last month, the comic signaled that — at least for the moment — he would say nothing. “I’m okay, I have a whole show, and I’m not talking about that until I get paid. Life is good. I got my hearing back,” Rock said during an April show in Indio, California.
After Smith attacked Rock on live TV at the Oscars, many entertainment figures, particularly comedians, condemned his behavior.
Others have even said that the now-infamous slap — which did not result in Smith facing charges or getting arrested — will set a precedent for other comedians on stage, as onlookers will believe that they, too, can get away with the same behavior if they hear jokes they don’t like.
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart reacted to Chappelle getting physically attacked onstage, saying it was good that the assailant got his “ass whooped,” because it “sends a message out to other people” looking to attack comedians.
Hart also implored people not to buy a ticket to a comedy show if they believe they might get offended and be unable to handle the jokes.
“Respect the craft,” Hart said. “Come and have a good time and enjoy the person that you saw. If you have no interest in that, you don’t have to buy a ticket.”