Chris Rock will host the MTV Video Music Awards. To rehearse for his third turn at the podium, he'll do a cross-country stand-up tour

By Gary Susman
Updated June 26, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Chris Rock: Jeff Christensen/Getty Images/Newscom

Don’t tell J. Lo. Chris Rock, the Billy Crystal of the MTV Video Music Awards, will host the channel’s annual blowout for the third time when the show celebrates its 20th year in August. ”Can’t wait to do it,” Rock said in a terse statement. The Aug. 28 show will again take place at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, where a bridal-gowned Madonna writhed onstage at the first VMA show in 1984, and where Guns N’ Roses made a stunning surprise appearance last year. It’s ”where we’ve thrown some of our biggest, stupidest, and most twisted parties to date,” said MTV president Van Toffler in a statement.

The upcoming gala will mark Rock’s first time at the podium in four years; he previously hosted in 1997 and 1999, when he reportedly angered Jennifer Lopez because he couldn’t stop making jokes about her posterior. Since then, while his movie career has blossomed, his stand-up comedy skills have rusted, he told the Associated Press on Wednesday. ”I haven’t performed in a lo-o-o-o-o-ng time,” he said. So he plans to rehearse with an impromptu cross-country tour of comedy clubs. He wouldn’t say where the tour, which begins next week, will take him; venues and ticket sales will be announced only 24 hours before each date.