- 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 respond to critics who thought she laughed 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 featured heavily in the audience of Chris Rock’s Netflix comedy special and laughed 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 “Selective Outrage” special, wearing the same purple top and haircuts she wore himself for taping. While her TikTok was in good fun, she now has to respond to viewers who thought she laughed too hard at some of Rock’s most annoying jokes.
Yigle told Insider that she attended the March 4 event with a group of seven friends, one of whom had received an invitation from a coordinator tasked with filling seats at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater. As 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.
As she exited the theater, other audience members approached her to tell her that the camera had panned to her on several occasions during the live broadcast. People watching at home noticed, too. A person on Twitter joked that the cameraman was in love with her.
On TikTok, Yigel joked about basking in his newfound fame. She’s seen lip-syncing 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 backlash, given that Rock’s set drew unwanted reactions on social media. In one act, the comedian responded to Will Smith punching him at last year’s Oscars by joking that he watched “Emancipation,” the historical thriller in which Smith plays a runaway slave, in retaliation for seeing Smith being physically abused.
Some saw it as a triumphant decision by the score, while others thought Rock went too far. His specialist was also accused of engaging in misogyny with jokes about Meghan Markle and Jada Pinkett Smith, calling the latter a “bitch” and a “predator”.
“He traded in colorism and said Meghan Markle hit the light-skinned lottery,” wrote columnist Elizabeth Wellington in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “His gratuitous use of the N-word made me cringe. He referred to Will and Jada as the B-word countless times. It got really gross.”
The widespread criticism of Rock is why people on TikTok pressed Yigle about her reactions.
“Amazing acting because baby is no way that laugh was real because that particular was horrible,” reads the top comment on Yigle’s TikTok, with 1,200 upvotes. “But you look absolutely gorgeous!”
In follow-up videos, Yigle retracted the criticism that she “laughs too hard”. As a political science student, she said, Rock’s “politically 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” since 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 laughed so much. But I was kind of a comedy show.”
Since posting on TikTok, she said people have specifically asked for her thoughts on Rock’s comments about black women.
“He didn’t really talk much about black women as a whole,” Yigle told Insider. “He talked about specifics – and that Jada was one of the people involved in everything that happened.”
In the end, she said, she came for a good laugh, and she did just that.
“I didn’t come to see a presidential campaign or a debate,” she concluded on TikTok. “I came to laugh… so I didn’t take anything he said seriously.”
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Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.