Chris Rock finally talks about ‘The Slap’ at show with Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle

Chris Rock is seen backstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Al Seib /A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

In the only event that stood out in the otherwise unremarkable 94th Annual Academy Awards ceremony in March 2022, Will Smith, reacting to a joke that Chris Rock had made about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, approached the stage and slapped him across the face. Smith, who went on to win Best Actor for his work in King Richard, then returned to his seat and demanded, “Keep my wife’s name out your f**king mouth.”

Since then, Rock has kept relatively quiet about the incident, even during his standup comedy shows where he tends to be outspoken about most aspects of his life. But during a home stand at Madison Square Garden this past Sunday, Rock, who is on tour with Kevin Hart, publicly joked about the incident for the first time. According to a report on the show in US Weekly, the comedian started by saying:

“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face.”

Rock also called the Fresh Prince “Suge Smith,” after notorious Death Row Records and current convict Marlon “Suge” Knight, and US Weekly reports that during a show the following night at the PNC Bank Center in Holmdel, NJ, Rock went on to say:

“‘I’m not a victim, mother***ker,’ before joking that he ‘shook that s–t off’ and returned to work. ‘Yeah, that sh*t hurt, mother***ker,” he continued. ‘But I shook that sh-t off and went to work the next day … I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.’”

Rock has mostly kept jokes about the incident out of his mouth, preferring to take the high road in public, although at a gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London this past May, he did joke, “I’m OK, if anybody was wondering. I got most of my hearing back.”