Free Idea for Next Year
02.25.13 12:22 PM ET
The Oscars: Bring Back Bob Hope
There must be some systemic reason no one can host the Oscars successfully anymore. I think there's way too much silly media anticipation these days, which makes the job kind of impossible, which is not intended as any kind of excuse for Seth McFarlane, whose opening routine was just shockingly terrible.
Risque material can rise above being offensive as long as it's funny. Ted was funny for about 40 minutes, and after that it was just in relentlessly terrible taste. Well, I turned it off, I confess, after Ted's job interview at the grocery store, so I can't honestly say what the rest was like, but that one line was way out there. Nominally offensive material is funny as long as there's some wit involved. Where there's no wit, the c-word isn't funny, it's just in poor taste. Although speaking of which, I do think last night's "rhyme" of "Helen Hunt" and "adorable" was quite funny. That was witty, as it made the viewer stop and connect the dots.
The other problem is trying to package teenage humor in post-modern wrapping: See, we're not really making jokes in terrible taste, we're making jokes about making jokes about terrible taste. That was funny 15 or 20 years ago when pop culture first embraced irony, but it's old now. The "boobs" thing failed along these lines.
I think what they ought to do is start now and spend the next year building an animatronic Bob Hope. That would be genuinely funny, a fake Bob Hope, cracking the old jokes ("Welcome to the Oscars, or, as we call it at my house, Passover") and some new ones. Take it away, Disney.