Chris Rock backstage before presenting at the 94th Academy Awards.Al Seib/Getty
Audience member Fely Yigle was heavily featured during Chris Rock’s latest Netflix comedy special.
The 21-year-old took to TikTok to bask in her newfound fame — and to answer critics who thought she was laughing too hard at some of Rock’s questionable jokes.
“The negative feedback came from the fact that people just didn’t like Chris Rock,” she told Insider.
A woman who was heavily featured in the audience of Chris Rock’s Netflix comedy special laughing uproariously took to TikTok to celebrate her moment in the sun – and to answer her critics.
21-year-old college student Fely Yigle, who goes by @lifeof.fay on TikTok, shared a semi-viral video on Sunday joking about her appearance in the special “Selective Outrage,” wearing the same purple top and hair clips that she wore to the taping. While her TikTok was in good fun, she’s now having to answer viewers who thought she was laughing too hard at some of Rock’s most testy jokes.
Yigle told Insider she attended the event on March 4 with a group of seven friends, one of whom had received an invite from a coordinator tasked with filling seats at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre. When the group was seated “literally right in the front row,” the thought entered Yigle’s mind that the camera might glimpse her.
“I didn’t think it would be on us as much as it was,” she said.
When she walked out of the theater, fellow audience members approached her to tell her that the camera had panned to her on numerous occasions during the live broadcast. People watching at home also noticed. One person on Twitter joked that the cameraman had a crush on her.
On TikTok, Yigel joked about basking in her newfound fame. She’s seen lipsyncing to the popular soundbite, “So how does this work: Do I call LA or do they call me?”
While her TikTok was mostly met with compliments, she also received some pushback, given that Rock’s set stoked adverse reactions on social media. In one act, the comedian responded to Will Smith slapping him at last year’s Oscar’s by joking that he watched “Emancipation,” the historical thriller wherein Smith plays a runaway slave, in retaliation to see Smith being physically abused.
Some saw it as a triumphant settling of the score, while others felt that Rock went too far. His special was also accused of dabbling in misogynoir with jokes about Meghan Markle and Jada Pinkett Smith, calling the latter a “bitch” and a “predator.”
“He traded in colorism, saying Meghan Markle hit the light-skinned lottery,” the columnist Elizabeth Wellington wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “His gratuitous use of the N-word made me wince. He referred to Will and Jada as B-words countless times. It got really nasty.”
The widespread criticism against Rock is why people on TikTok pressed Yigle about her reactions.
“Amazing acting cuz baby ain’t no way that laughter was real cuz that special was horrible,” reads the top comment on Yigle’s TikTok, with 1,200 upvotes. “But you look absolutely beautiful!”
In follow-up videos, Yigle shrugged off criticism that she was “laughing too hard.” As a political science student, she said, Rock’s “policitally-framed jokes” can help “make the truth more digestible.” She later told Insider that while her fits of laughter weren’t fake, it was “maybe a little too extra,” as she knew the cameras were there.
“I think more of the negative feedback came from the fact that people just didn’t like Chris Rock,” Yigle added. “So they were shocked that I was laughing so much. But I was, like, it’s a comedy show.”
Since posting on TikTok, she said people specifically have asked for her thoughts on Rock’s comments towards Black women.
“He didn’t really talk about Black women as much as a whole,” Yigle told Insider. “He talked about specific ones — and Jada being one of the people that was involved in everything that happened.”
In the end, she said, she came for a good laugh, and she did just that.
“I did not come to watch a presidential campaign or a debate,” she concluded on TikTok. “I came to laugh … so I did not take anything that he said seriously.”
Read the original article on Insider