Chris Rock Declined 2023 Oscars Hosting Gig After Will Smith Slap

Chris Rock at Oscars. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Chris Rock said thanks, but no thanks to hosting next year’s Academy Awards.

During a stand-up show Sunday night in Phoenix, Arizona, Rock told the audience he was asked to host next year’s Oscars ceremony, but said he declined, according to the Arizona Republic.

The actor and comedian compared returning to the Oscars stage to revisiting the scene of a crime after Will Smith slapped him at the 2022 ceremony. To get his point across, Rock referenced O.J. Simpson’s late ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and said going back to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole “to go back to the restaurant” where she left her glasses the night she was killed.

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Rock briefly mentioned getting slapped by Smith and told the sold-out crowd it was an unfair fight against the King Richard star, who played Muhammad Ali in the 2001 film Ali.

“He’s bigger than me,” Rock quipped. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.”

When Smith smacked him on March 27, Rock was presenting the best documentary award and made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock ventured off topic and suggested Pinkett Smith would star in a sequel to “G.I. Jane” due to her shaved head. Pinkett Smith has been open about having alopecia, which causes hair loss.

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Smith became enraged, walked on stage, and slapped Rock.

On July 29, the actor released a video on YouTube saying he was “deeply remorseful” for hitting Rock.

“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,” Smith shared in the video. “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.”

Rock has previously hosted the Oscars twice — in 2005 and in 2016.