Chris Rock has teased around the elephant in the room for much on the summer on his current Rock Hart Only Headliners Allowed tour with Kevin Hart, dropping a few punchlines here and there about the one thing everyone wants to hear him go full-in on.
But during his set at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey on Sunday, Rock reportedly made one of the most specific references to date addressing his feelings after Will Smith attacked him on stage at this year’s Oscars.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock, 57, said during his set, according to US Weekly, citing an unnamed eyewitness to the set. Rock also reportedly later referred to Smith — who has kept a low-to-no profile since the incident — as “Suge Smith,” seemingly a reference to the disgraced, currently imprisoned former Death Row Records CEO and strongman Marion “Suge” Knight.
The magazine reported that later during a bit about overly sensitive people who play the victim, Rock opined, “I’m not a victim, motherf–ker,” saying he “shook that s–t off and returned to work.” Now, don’t get him wrong, Rock said, “yeah, that s–t hurt, motherf–ker. But I shook that s–t off and went to work the next day… I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.”
Rock has been hitting stages across the country with Hart more than four months after Oscar-winner Smith stormed the stage at the 2022 Academy Awards and slapped the comedian hard across the face after Rock made a G.I. Jane joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald hairstyle. Pinkett Smith suffers from the immune disorder alopecia, which can cause significant hair loss.
One night earlier, during a show at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Hart dragged out his own elephant, a goat, actually, to praise Rock as the greatest stand-up of all-time. But of course he also joked that the gold chain-wearing farm animal’s name was “Will Smith,” just before the hoofer “s–t on Chris’s shoes.”
Rock has teased around the topic before, quipping during a show at Royal Albert Hall in London in May, “I’m okay, if anybody is wondering. Got most of my hearing back.” Smith later apologized to Rock and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In April, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences barred Smith from attending any Academy events for a period of 10 years.