Five months after Will Smith beat him on stage at the Oscars and stunned millions of viewers around the world, Chris Rock delivered another kind of slap at the Oscars.
Riffing with the crowd at a stand-up show in Phoenix on Sunday night, the comedian said that he was asked to host the Oscars next year, according to the Arizona Republic. But he turned down the offer, joking that returning to Hollywood’s biggest night would be like returning to a crime scene.
Regarding the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, Rock told the crowd at the Arizona Financial Theatre that it would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson to “go back to the restaurant” where she left her glasses before she was killed.
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Rock also said he turned down a commercial offer after the Super Bowl.
Speaking to Deadline in May, Craig Erwich, president of ABC Entertainment, openly expressed his desire to see Rock return to the Oscar stage in 2023. Rock has hosted the show twice, in 2005 and 2016, with the latter taking place amid another controversy: the #OscarsSoWhite firestorm.
The Film Academy did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. The organization doesn’t usually share its discussions with potential hosts, and they’re not expected to name a host for next year’s show, scheduled for March 12, until it gets closer.
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On Friday, actor Will Smith apologized to Chris Rock’s family and his own in a new video in which he dealt with the 2022 Oscar slap.
In a roundtable interview with a group of reporters last week, the Academy’s recently appointed chairman of the board, Bill Kramer, said the group wanted to put the shocking incident that led to Smith being banned from all academy events for 10 years in the rearview mirror.
”We want to move forward and have an Oscar celebrating cinema,” Kramer said when asked if the 2023 show would address the incident in any way. “That’s our focus at the moment. It’s really about moving forward.”
While three of the last four Academy Awards have not had a host, Kramer noted that the organization is determined to have a host for this year’s show.
Entertainment & Art
Chris Rock Joins Fan Who Shouts an Insult About Will Smith
During his third comedy show since that controversial Oscar slap, Chris Rock quickly said no to a fan singing a saying about Will Smith.
“We definitely want a host,” he said. “A host is very important to us. We have committed to having a presenter on the show this year and we are already looking for some important partners for this.” (The March ceremony had three co-hosts: Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes.)
Rock’s Phoenix show was the last stop on an ongoing stand-up tour, where ticket prices soared after his altercation with Smith. On tour, Rock has mostly stayed away from the Oscar drama, but on Sunday he made a joke about how much the blow hurt and how physically he was outdone by Smith, who has apologized multiple times since the incident.
”He’s taller than me,” Rock said. “The state of Nevada would not approve of a fight between me and Will Smith.”