Chris Rock reportedly told the crowd at a Phoenix stand-up show that he was offered to return to the Oscars in 2023 as host after Will Smith infamously slapped him onstage.
Per the Arizonal Republic, Rock declined. The local outlet wrote that he said it would be like going back to a crime scene or inviting Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant.” He also turned down a Super Bowl ad in the aftermath.
Rock’s commentary on the slap came “briefly and early” during a roughly 90-minute comedy set, with an attendee prompting him to “talk about it.” The 57-year-old told his fans the smack, coming from the man who played Muhammad Ali, did indeed hurt.
“He’s bigger than me. The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith,” he’s quoted as saying.
In May, Deadline wrote that ABC president of entertainment Craig Erwich was “open to the idea of Rock hosting the show” next year.
The slap that launched a trillion blog posts in March 2022 is yielding headlines to this day, with the last month alone seeing Willow Smith dig into the topic, Zoë Kravitz share her regrets on the way she spoke out when it happened, and Kevin Hart gift Rock a goat named Will Smith onstage at Madison Square Garden.
As far as the two parties most directly involved in the incident, exactly a month ago today Smith emerged with a six-minute video addressing his choice. “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out,” said Smith, 53. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
In the days just before and after that clip, Rock reportedly told stand-up crowds he’s “not a victim, motherfucker” and called Will “Suge Smith.”