March 5, 2023 | 13:26
Janina Gavankar, one of Meghan Markle’s longtime best friends, was at the live taping of Chris Rock’s blockbuster Netflix show on Saturday night – and saw how the comedian skewered the Duchess of Sussex, Page Six can reveal.
The “Vampire Diaries” actress, who has been a staunch defender of Prince Harry’s wife and a close friend of hers for over 20 years, was at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater to witness Rock make history for the streaming service’s first global live streaming event.
Sources told Page Six that Gavankar, 42, joined his good friend Dave Chapelle backstage to watch the show in the VIP Green Room.
“Janina seemed to enjoy the show a lot, she stood up at the TV screens and laughed,” an eyewitness said.
During his set, Rock, 58, mocked the Sussexes’ Oprah Winfrey interview from 2021, in which they infamously claimed an unknown royal had raised “concerns” about “how dark” their baby might be before their son, Archie, was born. The comic joked that Markle was just dealing with some “in-laws.”
“Like, who is this girl Meghan Markle? Seems like a nice lady — just complaining. Like, didn’t she hit the light-skinned lottery?” Rock said he would throw himself into his destiny before calling the royal family “the OG’s of racism”.
Rock had been honing his routine over the past few months at a series of concerts around the country, including at Radio City Music Hall in New York City back in October, where he made the same comments about Markle and the royals. We’re told Gavankar had been to previous shows so she knew what to expect.
Gavankar joined a host of big names at Saturday’s show, including director Spike Lee and wife Tonya Lewis Lee, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, author Nelson George, comics Darnell Rollins, Sam Jay and actor Stephen Hill along with Arsenio Hall, David Spade and former “Saturday Night Live” stars Leslie Jones and Dana Carvey.
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While talking about Markle, Rock put on a loud voice to mock the Duke and Duchess.
“She’s complaining, I’m like, ‘What the hell is she talking about? They’re so racist they wanted to know how brown the baby was going to be,'” he said.
“I’m like, ‘That’s not racist,’ because even black people want to know how brown the baby is going to be. S–t. We check behind their ears.”
Rock also joked that Markle was “acting completely stupid” as if she knew nothing.
“(She) went on to Oprah (and) said, ‘I had no idea how racist they were.’ It’s the royal family, you didn’t google those mothers? They’re the original racists. They invented colonialism,” he said on stage, adding, “They invested in slavery like it was ‘Shark Tank.'”
Rock then claimed to know what Markle was “going through,” saying, “I know her dilemma: Black girl trying to be accepted by her white in-laws.”
He continued: “Oh, it’s hard. It’s so hard, it’s very hard – but it’s not as hard as a white girl trying to be accepted by her black in-laws. Now it’s really hard!”
Gavankar was a guest at the Sussex wedding in May 2018. She also went on British television after the royal family responded to the Oprah interview by saying “recollections may vary” on the couple’s claims about their hellish time behind palace walls.
Speaking on “This Morning”, Gavankar hit back at the family’s claims that they were unaware of the full extent of Meghan’s struggles while a working member of the royal family.
“While their ‘memories may vary’, ours do not because we lived through it with them,” Gavankar said, quoting directly from the palace’s statement. “And there are a lot of emails and texts to back it up.”