Until Chris Rock pulls up a seat at the Red Table, his stand-up shows are how he’s responding to being slapped at the Oscars — and presumably Will Smith’s latest apology.
Hours after the “King Richard” star broke his silence with an apology video following a monthslong break from the public eye, the comedian took the stage at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta as part of his Ego Death world tour.
While Rock did not directly address Smith’s heartfelt six-minute video, according to People, he did pass along a pointed message about how “everybody is trying to be a fucking victim.”
“If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims. Even me getting smacked by Suge Smith,” he told the crowd, referencing Marion “Suge” Knight, the Death Row Records co-founder who is currently serving a 28-year sentence for killing a man. “I went to work the next day, I got kids.”
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock added, making the same remark about “cancel culture” he’s shared at past shows.
Rock has held off on sharing his side of the story since Smith charged the stage at the Oscars ceremony in March. Before presenting an award, the comedian made an insensitive joke about the shaved head of Jada Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about her alopecia.
Smith, however, has been more forthcoming. In his recent video, the actor answered a variety of questions about the infamous moment, including about whether he’s reached out to Rock, who he said is “not ready to talk.”
“It’s all fuzzy,” Smith remarked about his memories from the night. “I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
He also addressed the speculation about his wife’s role in the incident.
“I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” he said. “Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe.”
The actor added that after months of reflection he is still “trying to be remorseful without being ashamed” of his actions and apologized to his family, fellow nominees and fans at large.
“Disappointing people is my central trauma. I hate when I let people down,” he said. “It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn’t live up to people’s image and impression of me.”
Shortly after the Oscars ceremony, the star willingly resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has since banned him from attending the awards show and other related events for the next decade.
Smith will presumably face more scrutiny when his new film, “Emancipation,” from “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua arrives “later this year or early next year,” according to Deadline, after the project was reportedly delayed due to the controversy surrounding the slap.