Comedian Chris Rock performs at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre during a show that was streamed live on Netflix on Saturday.

Baltimore was in the national headlines over the weekend after Chris Rock talked about “the slap heard around the world” during his show at the Hippodrome Theatre.

The comedian spoke Saturday about his encounter with actor Will Smith during last year’s Oscars ceremony. Smith shocked audiences when he hit Rock after the Oscar host made a joke about Smith’s wife, Baltimore-native Jada Pinkett Smith.

While hosting last year’s Oscars, Rock made a joke on stage about Pinkett Smith’s baldness. (Pinkett Smith has alopecia areata.) Smith got up from the crowd and confronted Rock, shocking Oscar audiences.

After the slap, Oscar officials barred Smith from the ceremony for the next 10 years.
Smith and his wife have spoken multiple times about the incident, with Smith later apologizing.

Saturday’s Baltimore show came almost one year after the Oscars slap – and just a week before this year’s ceremony.

In the show, which was also streamed live on Netflix, Rock confirmed it indeed did hurt, but he said he took it like boxer Manny Pacquiao despite his small stature.

“Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. We are not the same size,” Rock said. “Will Smith does movies with his shirt off. You’ve never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie. You think I auditioned for that part? I played Pookie in ‘New Jack City.’ I played a piece of corn in ‘Pootie Tang.’”

Smith’s apology appears to have not been accepted.

“I loved Will Smith my whole life,” Rock said. “I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life. I root for this [expletive],” Rock said. “And now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whooped.”

Rock explained why he didn’t strike back.

“Because I got parents,” he said. “Because I was raised, okay? And you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people.”

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Tim Swift

Tim Swift is a local freelance writer and the former features editor for the Baltimore Sun.

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