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The Real Reason Chris Rock Turned Down The 2023 Oscars Hosting Gig

In addition to being a prolific stand-up comedian and both an actor and director of feature films, Chris Rock has hosted the Academy Awards twice, once in 2005 and again in 2016. But at this year's ceremony, he inadvertently managed to make those gigs mere footnotes compared to his being slapped in the face by Will Smith, in an incident that gripped the entire world for several weeks after it happened. It only makes sense that after such a controversial and infamous incident, the producers of next year's Oscar show would want to address it in some way, possibly by inviting Rock back to host the show for a third time.

But the comedian himself doesn't seem to be interested. He's been on a stand-up comedy tour since "The Slap" took place, eventually finding himself ready to talk about the slap that left a permanent mark on his public legacy. And at a recent comedy performance, Rock gave a little bit of insight into his thought process when he turned down the opportunity to return as host of the Oscars.

Rock has no desire to return to the scene of the crime

In May, Deadline reported that ABC, the network that will be broadcasting the Oscars next year, would be "open to" having Chris Rock come back as host. That's kind of a no-brainer since, after the publicity generated from being slapped across the face by one of the biggest movie stars in the world, such a move would almost certainly deliver sky-high ratings for the broadcast.

But Rock himself doesn't appear to be interested, at least if his remarks to the crowd during a comedy show in Phoenix are any indication (via AZ Central). Rock said that he was actually invited to host the Oscars next year but that he turned the opportunity down, likening it to returning to the scene of a crime. In typical Rock fashion, he added that his returning to the show following last year's incident would be like asking Nicole Brown Smith "to go back to the restaurant," a joke that will make sense to anyone old enough to remember the O.J. Simpson trial.

Rock also revealed that he'd been offered a role in a Super Bowl ad for an unspecified company, presumably one that would play off the incident with Will Smith somehow, but gave no further details. He also discussed the size difference between himself and Smith. "He's bigger than me," the comedian joked. "The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith."

Whether Rock intends to appear at next year's Oscars in some capacity remains to be seen. But it doesn't look like he's interested in taking on hosting duties so soon after getting slapped at last year's show.