Janina Gavankar, one of Meghan Markle’s longtime best friends, was at the live taping for Chris Rock’s blockbuster Netflix show Saturday night – and watched as 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 pal of hers for over 20 years, was at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater to witness Rock make history for the streaming service’s first live global streaming event.
Sources told Page Six that Gavankar, 42, joined her good friend Dave Chapelle backstage to watch the show in the VIP Green Room.
“Janina looked to be enjoying the show very much, she was standing up by the TV screens and laughing,” one eyewitness told us.
During his set, Rock, 58, mocked the Sussexes’ 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview, where 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-law s—t.”
“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 to launch into his diatribe, before calling the royal family the “OGs of racism.”
Rock had finely honed his routine over the past few months at a number of gigs 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 that 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, alongside 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 high-pitched voice to mock the Duke and Duchess.
“She’s complaining, I’m like, ‘What the f–k 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,’ cause’ even black people want to know how brown the baby gon’ be. S–t. We check behind them ears.”
Rock also joked that Markle was “acting all dumb” like she didn’t know nothing.
“[She was] going on Oprah [and] saying, ‘I had no idea how racist they were.’ That’s the royal family, you didn’t Google those motherf–kers? 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,” stating, “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 ain’t as hard as a white girl trying to be accepted by her black in-laws. Now that s–t is really hard!”
Gavankar was a guest at the Sussexes wedding in May 2018. She also went on British TV after the royal family responded to the Oprah interview by saying “recollections may vary” at the couple’s claims of their hellish time behind palace walls.
Speaking on “This Morning,” Gavankar hit back at the family’s claims they weren’t aware of the full extent of Meghan’s struggles while she was a working royal family member.
“Though their ‘recollections may vary,’ ours don’t because we lived through it with them,” Gavankar said, quoting directly from the Palace’s statement. “And there are many emails and texts to support that.”