Comedian Chris Rock took center stage at the 2019 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, where he presented fellow comedian and breakout “Eighth Grade” director Bo Burnham with this year’s Best First Film prize. During his brief time on stage, he decided to speak on the current state of comedy and how he can’t joke the same way he did 5 years ago due to the backlash it will bring.
Rock said, “If it was five years ago, I could say something really offensive and funny right now, but I can’t do that anymore, so…heyyyy!” The joke was in reference to Kevin Hart and Louis CK, who have both been at the center of backlash for past jokes that are now deemed offensive to the LGBTQ and the Parkland shooting survivors.
During his speech, Rock spotted legendary comedian Steve Martin in the audience and abruptly stopped his presentation to shout, “Steve Martin is here! You should host the Oscars! You’re the best! Steve Martin should host the Oscars! Because I’m not doing it, goddammit! You’re not getting me.” Chris himself has hosted the Oscars twice, first in 2005 and again in 2016.