That’s a hard pass. Chris Rock said he rejected an offer to host the 2023 Oscars during a Phoenix comedy show.
The South Carolina native, 57, performed at the Arizona Financial Theatre on Sunday, August 28, when he brought up his Academy Awards assault, the Arizona Republic reports.
Rock, who was famously slapped by Will Smith at the March ceremony after making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s hair, said that he was offered the hosting job but felt he couldn’t take the gig. He joked that returning to the Academy Awards would be akin to going back to a crime scene.
He referenced the murder trial of O.J. Simpson while explaining his stance. Rock joked that going back to the Oscars would be like asking the late Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant” where she left her eyeglasses before being killed in 1994.
Rock also said he turned down a Super Bowl commercial offer that came in after he was slapped by Smith, 53.
The Everybody Hates Chris alum also cracked jokes about how much the blow hurt, according to the local outlet. He noted that he and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air vet were physically very different, referencing how Smith had played the boxer Muhammad Ali in an Oscar-nominated biopic.
“He’s bigger than me,” Rock reportedly said. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.” He also said he wasn’t a victim, a bit which he has repeated throughout other standup sets recently.
The Madagascar star performed a similar joke last month during a tour stop in Holmdel, New Jersey. “Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” the comic quipped during his set at the PNC Bank Arts Center on July 24, an eyewitness exclusively told Us Weekly at the time.
Later that night, during a sketch about people being overly sensitive and playing the victim, Rock declared to the New Jersey audience, “I’m not a victim, motherf–ker,” before joking that he “shook that s–t off” and returned to work. “Yeah, that s–t hurt, motherf–ker,” he continued. “But I shook that s–t off and went to work the next day … I don’t go to the hospital for a papercut.”
Since telling Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth” shortly before winning the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Smith has kept a low profile. He initially apologized the day after the ceremony. He resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before later being banned from all Oscars events for the next decade.
In July, Smith once again publicly apologized to Rock. The Pursuit of Happyness star expressed remorse in the lengthy video.
“I’ve spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment,” the Philadelphia native said. “I’m not gonna try to unpack all of that right now. But I can say to all of you, 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.”
The Independence Day actor explained that while he has tried to reach out to Rock, “the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out.”
Smith continued, “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.”
An insider revealed that Rock has no desire for a sit-down. “Chris has no immediate plans to have a one-on-one with Will,” the source exclusively told Us days after the video was shared. “He’s moving forward.”