The Chris Rock & Will Smith slapping controversy was a hot topic in the industry, and it appears that it isn’t going away anytime soon. Chris was approached by ABC to host the Oscars in 2023 a few months back, now he has finally responded. During a recent stand-up performance, Chris Rock stated that he declined the opportunity to host the Oscars next year.
Rock has remained one of the most successful stand-up comedians in the industry since leaving Saturday Night Live. After creating a name for himself in the late 1990s with a string of well-received stand-up specials, Rock made the transition to the big screen, playing in films such as Madagascar and producing his own Top Five in 2014.
Rock has hosted the Academy Awards twice: once in 2005 and again in 2016, at the ‘#OscarsSoWhite’ affair. Despite Rock’s success as emcee, any future hosting appearances were jeopardized during the 2022 event, when Will Smith reportedly smacked Rock across the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The impact of this incident has been substantial for both sides, especially after Smith was barred from attending the Oscars for ten years a few months after the incident. Though Smith has issued a formal apology to Rock, the comedian has said little about the incident, focusing on his point of view in his stand-up appearances.
AZ Central reports that Rock addressed the Oscars incident at a crowded stand-up set in Arizona Sunday night and revealed the Academy had come out to him with an offer to host the Oscars in 2023. He turned down the offer. Rock said he has no plans to return to the Oscars anytime soon, comparing himself to O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife returning to the scene of the crime.
Rock also said that a major corporation approached him about appearing in a Super Bowl commercial, which he declined. Rock’s decision to leave the Oscars is a foregone conclusion to his reign as one of the more enthusiastic hosts of the last 20 years. Rock took aim at his fellow Hollywood stars at the 2005 ceremony, even going so far as to call out Jude Law for his ubiquity throughout the 2004 awards season.
In 2016, Rock was unafraid to criticize the Academy for its lack of diversity and representation, devoting most of his monologue to the subject. Still, it’s evident that what transpired this year has left Rock disturbed. Rock’s sorrow for what he did to Smith and his career may have prompted his decision to withdraw from any future Oscars appearances.
The revelation that Rock was contacted to host this year’s Oscars, while an example of the consequences that have mostly avoided Smith, ultimately highlights the reality that the Academy is having difficulties filling its hosting role once again. The Oscars appear to want to revert to a safe bet after two years of hostless programs, and a year when Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall hosted the ceremony, and Smith may be the latest trusted candidate to decline.
It remains to be seen how the Academy will proceed with filling that post in light of the unease around stepping onstage and delivering jokes in front of celebrities in the aftermath of the Smith incident. Rock’s future appears to be defined by each subsequent stand-up set he performs, regardless of whether he discusses the Smith event at all.
The supporters are ecstatic about Chris Rock’s appearance. Let us wait and see if Rock eventually changes his mind. What do you think about Rock’s return? Let us know in the comments. Stay tuned to Thirsty for more information.
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