Chris Rock says he won't be hosting the 2023 Oscars and yes, the Academy asked

·2 min read
Chris Rock
Chris Rock

Fool Chris Rock once, shame on The Oscars. But fool him twice... well, there’s a reason the saying goes how it goes. During a set at the Arizona Financial Theater in Phoenix, Rock said that he had been asked to return to host the Oscars and had responded with a hearty “no,” per AZCentral. Will Smith memorably slapped the comedian across the face live on air during Rock’s last hosting gig, after Rock called Jada Pinkett Smith (who has alopecia) “G.I. Jane.”

Rock and the Academy have a history beyond last year’s altercation—the actor also hosted the ceremony in 2005 and 2016— but that history feels downright ancient when compared with the sprawling media fanfare over the 2021 ceremony. Rock also said he also received an offer to do a Super Bowl commercial that he declined (although for what company, he didn’t specify). Good grief—if the Oscars and the Super Bowl aren’t safe spaces for celebrities anymore, then what is?

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Throughout the performance, Rock also reportedly continually compared his predicament to returning to the scene of the crime. At one point, he joked that going back to the Oscars would be the same as Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife OJ Simpson was accused of brutally killing, returning to the restaurant where the night of her murder began. Last we checked, being nearly decapitated is a bit different than being slapped (although Judd Apatow would likely beg to differ). Either way, the punchline feels gimmicky in a gross way, especially seeing as Simpson ranks among the most maligned murder victims of all time.

One person who has very much not been asked back to the 2023 Oscars: Will Smith. After his outburst, Smith was banned from the awards for a decade—shortly before the decision, he publicly resigned from the Academy, saying he was “heartbroken.”

In a video shared to his Instagram in late July, Smith also directly apologized to Rock and any audience members or viewers he harmed. “Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk,” he says, later continuing: “There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”