While performing in Phoenix on his sold-out stand-up tour, Rock told the audience that the Academy had asked him to sign on as a host for the 2023 ceremony, which he declined, according to the Arizona Republic.
The comedian went on to liken such a return to revisiting the scene of a crime following the Will Smith slap incident of 2022. Rock said going back to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson "to go back to the restaurant" where she left a pair of glasses the night she was murdered.
Rock also briefly elaborated on the now infamous slap, explaining that Smith's larger stature and the fact that the Best Actor winner previously portrayed Muhammad Ali made it an unfair fight. "He's bigger than me," Rock said. "The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith."
EW has reached out to the Academy for comment.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars
Rock has largely eschewed public discussion of the incident, mentioning it only briefly throughout his current Ego Death tour.
While presenting at the 2022 Oscars, Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her readiness to star in G.I. Jane with her shaved head. Pinkett suffers from alopecia and has been publicly sensitive about her hair. In retaliation for the joke, Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock, inflaming the viewing audience at home and launching weeks of speculation over what the punishment should be.
Smith has since apologized for his outburst, calling it "unacceptable" and expressing his desire to make up with Rock. "I've reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is 'he's not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out,'" Smith explained. " I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."
For his actions, Smith has been banned from attending the Academy Awards for the next ten years.