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Chris Rock is rolling with the punches in a new stand-up tour with Kevin Hart as he made a not-so-veiled reference to Will Smith and his infamous slap at the 2022 Academy Awards Show.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock said during a set at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, ET Online reported. The comment came as the comedian was joking about cancel culture.
Rock, 57, echoed the line the following day during a performance at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, US Weekly reported.
Saturday’s show was opened by Dave Chappelle, who also addressed a recent controversy, as he referenced being tackled on stage during his Netflix Is a Joke tour at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Chris Rock joked about Will Smith’s infamous slap at the 94th Academy Awards during his show on July 24, 2022. (Getty Images)
XXL Magazine reported Saturday’s show also featured Will Smith — not the actor, but a goat by the same name that Hart gifted to Rock.
“The name is Will Smith,” Hart shared, passing the goat’s leash to Rock. “What?” the comedian responded, as the crowd laughed.
After the show, Hart took to Twitter to share the show was “by far the best moment” of his career.
“I love my brothers more than words can explain,” he added. “We made history last night!”
Dave Chappelle made a surprise appearance on stage opening for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart at Madison Square Garden in New York City on July 24, 2022. (Getty Images)
Rock’s shows were a part of a five-show limited-run “Only Headliners Allowed” comedy tour that he and Hart kicked off July 21 at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York.
The tour, produced by Live Nation, featured stops at the Prudential Center in Newark, Madison Square Garden, and the PNC Bank Arts Center, before it concluded with a final stop in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Monday.
“When Chris and I realized we were both going to be on tour this year we immediately knew we needed to do something special. We have been friends and mentors to each other for 20 years, but we have never shared a headlining stage together – until now!!!” Hart said in March when Live Nation first announced the tour.
Will Smith, right, slaps Chris Rock, left, onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the return of live comedy than to co-headline a show with my brother Chris Rock,” he added at the time. “This is a major moment in comedy and one for the history books.”
Following the Oscars slap, Smith apologized, resigned from the Academy Awards, and was banned for 10 years from attending Oscars events and shows.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the academy,” Smith said at the time.
Rock’s most recent stand-up special, “Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut,” is streaming on Netflix.