No Offense, Seth MacFarlane: 7 (Other) Really Good Oscars Host Ideas

Zach Galifianakis, Jessica Chastain/Images: Michael Yada © A.M.P.A.S. /Helga Esteb/Shutterstock
Zach Galifianakis, Jessica Chastain/Images: Michael Yada © A.M.P.A.S. /Helga Esteb/Shutterstock

In a time of sharp political and cultural divisions, it seems that there is one thing everyone agrees on lately: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler absolutely killed it at the 2013 Golden Globes. They were satirical without being mean, inside without alienating the general public, endearingly self-deprecating, and conveyed throughout that they were just having a blast hosting the coolest party in town. They established a new gold standard for one of the most scrutinized gigs in entertainment.  It’s a standard Seth MacFarlane will be tasked with trying to emulate at the Oscars in a few weeks. I’m imagining a mix of Broadway show tunes, over-sexed teddy bears, and awkwardly segued non sequitur gags (“Gee Robert Pattison, this is even more awkward than that time you were charged with initiating Stalin’s pogroms!”).

This seems as good a time as any to suggest some more new faces to help steer the mighty ship that is Hollywood’s self-aggrandizement. If nothing else, it could help the Oscars avoid a repeat of the 1990s dreaded Goldberg/Crystal Vortex.

Kristen Wiig
Why not learn from the Golden Globes triumph and follow two beloved “SNL” alumni with a third? The runaway success of “Bridesmaids” turned Wiig into one of the hottest names in town and her presenting gig with Will Ferrell at the 2013 Globes was the best comedy bit that didn’t involve the hosts. She also co-wrote “Bridesmaids,” which proves conclusively that she can generate better material than Bruce Vilanch.

Stephen Colbert
Caveat: he has to do the entire show in character. What could be more fun than watching Colbert pop up between each awards presentation to deliver hilarious, scathing lectures on the insidious evils of the Liberal Hollywood Agenda? This suggestion goes out the window if any of the “Hobbit” films garner nominations. Colbert would be unable to get through the evening without reciting the family trees of every character in the book.

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Remember when the Oscars tried to appeal to the kids by enjoining Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host? No? You’ve diligently scrubbed that horror out of your brain, you say? Ok fine – it could have gone better. Hathaway seemed game but Franco clearly checked out early in the proceedings and never checked back in. In his defense, he was busy backstage directing a film about a man named “James Franco” who was hosting the Oscars, re-editing the footage from said film into a thirty-six-hour mixed media video installation about the recursive nature of twenty-first-century fame titled “Francoscars,” skipping his Nineteenth-century Italian Literature final at Princeton, and simultaneously composing eight separate poems about Allen Ginsberg and the death of god. So lay off the guy. I say we shouldn’t allow a solid concept to expire because of one failed execution. The Kids Today love Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt almost as much as they love the hip-hop and the video games. Zooey is adorable. Joseph seems capable of concentrating on one thing at a time. It’s time for round two!

Zach Galifianakis
He spends the balance of the evening at a grand piano stage left, interrupting presenters with high-concept jokes and berating George Clooney for heckling. Every winner must immediately spend three minutes on a very special Between Two Ferns. We get at least one nominated song performance as delightfully weird as the interpretive dance to the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” that closed out his Comedy Central half hour (youtube it). I’m not yet sure how a nude and handcuffed Ken Jeong fits in to all this, but I’ll get back to you.

“The Descendants” screenwriter James Rash and Angelina Jolie’s right leg
Let’s get these crazy kids back together!!

Robert Downey Jr.
Do I really think Hollywood’s Comeback Kid could take an egregiously overlong production, rife with empty spectacle, tin-eared comedy, and massive structural problems, and singlehandedly save it through a peerless combination of pure charisma, effortless charm, and insouciant wit? Allow me to answer that question with a question: Have you seen “Iron Man 2” and the “Sherlock” films? Joking aside, Downey Jr. seems tailor made to serve as a fun and funny master of ceremonies. Movie and tv stars are also much better at taking verbal punishment from one of their own.  He might even be able to get Tommy Lee Jones to stop looking like that grumpy cat for a few seconds.

Christopher Walken
Because the world can seem like a cruel and empty place where we each wander alone on a darkling plain in a doomed search for a moment’s vague surcease, and three hours of Christopher Walken  hosting an awards show would serve as proof that a benevolent deity  smiles down upon us all.

So ... who did we miss?