Chris Rock says he turned down offer to host 2023 Oscars

The comedian compared returning to the Oscars after Will Smith slapped him with Nicole Brown Simpson's murder during a stand-up concert on Sunday in Arizona.

Chris Rock revealed during a recent stop on his comedy tour that the academy approached him to host next year’s Oscars. He did not jump at the offer.

He told the audience at the Arizona Financial Theatre in Phoenix during the sold-out concert on his Ego Death World Tour that he was asked to host the 2023 Academy Awards ceremony but refused, according to AZ Central. Rock, who was in concert on Aug. 28, also stated that he was asked to do a Super Bowl commercial that he also declined.

At the “94th Academy Awards,” Will Smith slapped Rock on stage after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. This occurred on live television as Rock was about to present the award for Best Documentary Feature. The four-time Emmy Award-winning comic/actor jokingly likened being asked to return to the Oscars to Nicole Brown Simpson — ex-wife of O.J. Simpson — being asked to return to a certain scene.

will smith slap
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock in March during the “94th Academy Awards” ceremony. Rock, who was on stage to present the best documentary Oscar, told a Phoenix crowd that he was asked to host the “95th Academy Awards.” He said he declined. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Rock said it would be like asking Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant.” The events that led to Brown Simpson’s murder began with her mother leaving a pair of glasses at an Italian restaurant that a friend, Ron Goldman, brought back to her home.

The academy has yet to confirm that an offer was made to Rock, who has the ceremony twice before  — in 2005 and 2016. Rock joked about Pinkett Smith in his 2016 monologue after she elected to boycott the Oscars that year because her husband did not receive a nomination for his performance in “Concussion.”

“Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties: I wasn’t invited,” Rock joked at the time.

The Academy banned Smith from attending the Oscars for 10 years. He has publicly apologized for slapping Rock on multiple occasions.

During Smith’s latest video apology in July, he disclosed that he attempted to contact Rock personally.  “I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk,” Smith said. “When he is, he will reach out.”

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