Steve Harvey is looking forward to watching Chris Rock host the Oscars – as long as he shows up, that is.
The comedian and TV personality, fresh from accepting NATPE's Brandon Tartikoff award in Miami on Wednesday, spoke to Access Hollywood's Liz Hernandez about the influence he believes Chris can have on the A-list fete in light of its current diversity scandal.
"You take Chris off, ain't no blacks. Nowhere," Steve said, when asked if he supports Tyrese's suggestion that the second-time host back down from his duties. "You can't go forward and backwards at the same time."
While Steve said he does "respect" stars like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee for opting out of the Feb. 28 ceremony, he also predicts Chris will use the event as an opportunity to sound off on the controversy himself.
"You let Chris Rock out there live on the Oscars, and you don't think that Chris Rock is going to make several pointed comments about it? Oh, you better you believe he is," Steve told Access.
"Chris Rock will be the best thing for the movement for the Oscars, than even the people not showing up. Trust and believe. Chris Rock is too smart and courageous of a guy, and I think he should host the Oscars," he continued.
While some of the celebrities supporting the #OscarsSoWhite backlash are already noted film stars, Steve said Chris' comedy career has primed him for this particular moment.
"This is his gig. It's his career, it's his shot. He's a host. Chris Rock's not an actor, Chris Rock will never, ever get an Oscar. He knows that. Let the man do what he do, but he's going to say something that night that will be beneficial to a lot of people," Steve said.
Adding, "I understand what everyone is saying, but right now I think we need a Chris Rock on that night. I really do. I think he'll do more for it than [he would] not showing up."
Steve was also candid about other social concerns that he said may deserve more attention than a Hollywood awards show.
"The bigger statement would be if we stop shooting black kids that were unarmed. The bigger statement would be if we had some type of damn gun control laws; that would be a bigger statement. What you dumping it on a black comedian for?" he said. "We can't even get a gun law in this country. We can't even go to church, go to a movie, buy skittles, drink iced tea or play your music loud without getting gunned down. We can't find the people that are chopping people's heads off. We got plenty of stuff to do."
As for his own Oscar night plans, Steve joked that he has no choice but to opt out of the festivities.
"I'm going to help with the boycott; I'm not going," he told Access, clarifying, "I wasn't invited."
-- Erin Biglow