Now that Chris Rock’s cheek is no longer stinging, he might be ready to hit the stage again.
Hopefully, getting slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars didn’t scar him enough from hosting the award show, and it turns out ABC is open to the idea. ABC’s President of Entertainment, Craig Erwich, recently chopped it up with Deadline, and it’s possible for Rock to return as host.
Hosts of years past often go forgotten since there aren’t many memorable moments, but having Rock back on hosting duties would sure create a lot of suspense and likely help spike the award show’s rating. The show’s rating rose by pandemic standards to 16.6 million viewers, which is still pretty low considering that pre-COVID, 23.6 million people tuned in.
“My assessment of the Oscars was that it was really a successful year for the show. Obviously, there was a lot of controversy, which overshadowed a lot of the positive things about the show, but I was really happy with the program,” Erwich told Deadline. “Even before that very unfortunate moment, the show started off up year over year, and we came back in a big way.”
Rock is a vet when it comes to hosting the Oscars since he took on the job in 2005 and 2016, with memorable yet edgy moments in each. In 2005 he referred to Jude Law –who was having a break-out year– as a low-budget Tom Cruise, which led to Sean Penn angrily taking the stage to defend Law. Then in 2016, among the #OscarsSoWhite movement, Rock was asked to boycott the ceremony but didn’t. Instead, he spoke up on the importance of inclusion in Hollywood whenever he took to the stage. And of course, at this year’s Oscars, he was slapped across the face by Will Smith after making a joke about Jada Pinkett’s trimmed haircut with a G.I. Jane reference.
“I got smacked by the softest n-gga that ever rapped,” Rock joked after the incident alongside Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl. He’s brought up the incident several other times along his Ego Death World Tour, and hosting the Oscars again could be a great business move.