Performing a show in Phoenix, Ariz., on Aug. 28, Rock told the crowd that he turned down the offer, per The Arizona Republic. The comedian apparently joked that his return to the Oscars would be like asking Nicole Brown Simpson “to go back to the restaurant,” a reference to the murder trial of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, who left her glasses at an Italian restaurant before being killed.
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Throughout his 90-minute stand-up comedy show, Rock said the Oscars slap hurt, noting that Smith played boxer Muhammad Ali in the 2001 movie “Ali.”
“He’s bigger than me,” Rock said at the show. “The state of Nevada would not sanction a fight between me and Will Smith.”
Rock also said he refused an offer for a Super Bowl commercial.
After slapping Rock onstage, Smith went on to win the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, Serena and Venus Williams’ dad, in “King Richard.” He did not mention Rock in his teary-eyed acceptance speech, instead apologizing to the comedian in a video posted months later.
“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out,” Smith says in the video. “I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world. And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”
Neither Rock nor the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences responded to Variety‘s request for comment.
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