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Is the Chris Rock Show in Boston the Most Anticipated Comedy Event … Ever?

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Chris Rock could’ve stripped down naked and ran across Fenway Stadium yelling “Go Yankees,” and the stunt still wouldn’t have managed to drum up as much attention ahead of his show in Boston this evening as getting slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars has.

In his first public appearance since the slap heard around the world, Rock will perform at Boston’s The Wilbur Theater tonight. The event is Rock’s first stop on his “Ego Death” world tour, which has seen ticket sales skyrocket in the aftermath of the Oscars incident. Ticket exchange company Stubhub has said Rock’s tour received more sales in the past 48 hours than it did across the entirety of March, and the average price of tickets jumped from between $150-$200 to $250. In Boston, the cost to attend one of Rock’s six sold-out shows at the Wilbur has leaped to $889. I guess any press really is good press. Speaking of the press, tv stations and paparazzi are currently camped outside of Rock’s hotel, hoping to get a comment from the comedian ahead of tonight’s performance. Everyone from local news anchors to local priests is weighing in on the slap.

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In case you just woke up from a coma, the explosion of interest in Rock stems from a joke he made about Will Smith’s wife, the actress, activist, and talk-show host Jada Pinkett Smith, at the Oscars. “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, all right?” said Rock while introducing the award for Best Documentary. The joke was a reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, which the actress has repeatedly explained is a result of her having Alopecia. The autoimmune disorder causes hair loss and other symptoms like brittle nails and a weakened immune system. A moment after Rock made the joke, Smith stood up, walked on stage, and slapped Rock. He then returned to his seat and yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

At first, people thought the incident was staged. When they found it wasn’t, they went nuts because, well, it was nuts. Smith made an official apology yesterday, but Chris Rock is yet to address the situation publicly, hence why everyone is waiting to see if he will bring it up at his show in Boston tonight. Most comedians would kill for this kind of attention ahead of a show, but would they get slapped for it? Hard to say. Here’s hoping Rock answers that question (plus about a hundred others) for us tonight.

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