Chris Rock famously became the talk of the 2022 Oscars after Will Smith slapped him on stage, but the comedian isn’t trying to be the talk of next year’s ceremony. In a recent stand-up set, Rock said the Academy asked him to host the 2023 Oscars, but he turned them down.
According to the Arizona Republic, Rock told the crowd at a recent gig in Phoenix that returning to the Oscars would be like returning to the scene of a crime, comparing the offer to asking Nicole Brown Simpson to “go back to the restaurant” she ate at before being murdered. Rock also said he was asked to do a Super Bowl commercial in light of the slap, an offer he also refused.
Elsewhere in the set, Rock said being slapped by Smith physically hurt, noting that Smith played Muhammed Ali in a movie. “He’s bigger than me,” Rock said. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.”
The altercation between Rock and Smith quickly became the biggest moment of the Oscars, prompting everyone from Alec Baldwin to Jim Carrey to Daniel Radcliffe to weigh in on the matter. Smith stormed the stage as Rock was presenting an award after Rock joked that Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, looked like “G.I. Jane 2” with her bald head (Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, which can cause hair loss).
After Smith returned to his seat, he yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” Co-hosts Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer later said they were “traumatized” by the outburst. Smith has since been banned from attending all Academy events for the next 10 years. Rock previously hosted the Oscars in 2005.
Rock is amidst a lengthy standup tour that runs through the middle of November. You can purchase tickets to his upcoming sets here.