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Chris Rock Performs In Boston, Says He's Still 'Processing' Oscar Slap

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Comedian Chris Rock returned to the stage Wednesday for the first time since being slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars, receiving rapturous applause from a Boston audience.

Rock only briefly addressed the slap, saying he was "still kind of processing what happened" Sunday and never mentioning Smith by name.

Rock is performing six shows at the Wilbur Theatre as part of his 'Ego Death' World Tour. The Boston shows are sold out, and tickets were being sold for more than $500 on some resale websites.

"Other than the weird thing, life is pretty good," Rock said at one point mid-way through his act.

Rock wore all white for his performance and seemed to be almost embarrassed by the multiple standing ovations he received. The applause carried on for minutes — with fans yelling "I love you, Chris!"

"He got like a huge standing ovation. It was like a five minute one," said Trisha White of Tewksbury. "It went on and on and on. He got all teared up and stuff."

"Like can you imagine being him as a performer and coming out and like you don't know if you were going to be ridiculed or applauded or what and then people gave him a standing ovation for forever, and then it died down and then another standing ovation," said CJ Johnson of Concord. "Then tears came out of his eyes. That to me was pretty amazing."

"How was your weekend?" Rock joked before getting into his set.

"If you came to hear that, I'm not ... I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend," Rock said.

Some fans who bought tickets after the Oscars were hoping he addressed the incident.

"It was disappointing," said Jenna Finegold of Charlestown. "He has a script written from prior to the weekend so he's going to go with that."

"I guess I was hoping he would say something, but I wasn't surprised," Trisha White said. "He was taking the high road."

"He was funny in that he acknowledged it without fully discussing it," another woman said. "He did mention that he was going to have stuff to say about what happened, but not for that show. I think more to come."

One person had to be escorted out of theater during the show. Boston Police said the man was causing a disturbance. He was charged with assault on a police officer.

The performance came just three days after Smith slapped Rock on the Oscars stage, stunning the crowd at the 94th Academy Awards and those watching at home.

Rock had made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's buzzed haircut. Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about her diagnosis of alopecia, which can cause baldness.

"Jada, I love you. 'G.I. Jane 2,' can't wait to see it," Rock said while presenting an award, comparing Pinkett Smith to Demi Moore's "G.I. Jane" character, who had a buzz cut in the 1997 film.

Smith promptly stood up from his seat at the front of the venue and took to the stage, slapping Rock across the face before sitting back down and yelling at Rock to keep his wife's name out of his mouth.

Within an hour, Smith won best actor, receiving a standing ovation. During his five-minute acceptance speech, Smith talked about defending his family and apologized to the academy. A day later, Smith issued an apology to the comedian, to the academy and to viewers at home, saying he was "out of line" and that his actions are "not indicative of the man I want to be."

Aubrey Collins from Portsmouth, Rhode Island bought two tickets to Wednesday's show during the Oscars. "I bought tickets immediately," Collins told WBZ-TV. "This is too good to be true."

Collins said the tickets were $100, but he could get nearly ten times that. He said selling the tickets was tempting, but he was looking forward to what Rock had to say.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences condemned Smith striking Rock. Its board of governors met Wednesday to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations of the group's standards of conduct.

The academy said it had asked Smith to leave Sunday's Oscar ceremony after hitting Rock, but he refused to do so.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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