With noted, unrepentant homophobe Kevin Hart out as Oscar host (bye, Felicia) the Academy continues its scramble to fill one of the hardest gigs in showbiz. At the time of this writing, they have yet to find anyone willing, able or queer-friendly to take on the job, which combines stand-up comedy, stage drama, improv and a fair amount of ego boosting before a collection of Hollywood’s finest–not to mention a worldwide audience.
AMPAS, if you’re reading this, check out our suggestions for filling the hosting void. We admit to picking some unconventional names here, as well as a couple who have already proven their mettle. After this latest debacle, it’s high time to think outside the box. This is a prime opportunity to put front and center what Kevin Hart stood against. Regardless, we think all could pull off the job with flying colors.
Please, in any case, just don’t hire Billy Crystal again. The Academy Awards air February 24 on ABC.
1. Jaboukie Young-White
The Millennial Daily Show correspondent has already proven himself a thoughtful and very funny presence in front of the cameras. As a queer African-American, he hits the demographics who are tuning out the Oscars. We are confident he could pull off the big gig, and help attract a younger audience. If ABC still worries about low ratings, Jaboukie could offer up a major boost.
2. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen has already hosted twice, winning rave reviews for her most recent engagement in which she dragged a pizza delivery man onto the stage and crashed Twitter with an all-star selfie. If you want a big name, this extremely funny (and brand safe) lesbian is your woman. Why hasn’t she been asked?
3. Wanda Sykes
Speaking of queer funny women, Ms. Sykes, in recent years, has earned a reputation for her cutting political jibes as well as her laugh-out-loud stand up. She could provide a good antidote to the Kevin Hart unpleasantness, and provide plenty of laughs.
4. The Muppets
Once upon a time, The Muppets mined comic gold with their films and TV shows. Maybe they’re ready for a prime-time comeback. Besides, we’d love to see newly-out couple Bert & Ernie delivering the opening monologue, along with some of Gonzo’s stunts, a song & dance with Ms. Piggy and have Animal join the orchestra.
5. Sarah Silverman
Ms. Silverman has her own racy (and somewhat homophobic) past when it comes to stand-up and social media. The big difference? She now plays very well with an LGBTQ audience, and never hesitates in apologizing and taking responsibility for the occasional quip that plays more offensive than amusing today.
6. James Corden
The Tonight Show host and musical star proves time and again how good he intermingles with celebrities and finds humor in unlikely spots. We think he could more than carry the Oscar show bit a bit of old-Hollywood type razzle-dazzle.
Come on, imagine a drag queen hosting Hollywood’s biggest night. Think of the quips, the lipsync numbers…think of the dresses! Think of the disses directed at the complacent, narcissistic liberal audience. Given Ru’s Hollywood Drag Race cred, why not let her do what she’s good at: bringing people together around fabulous style, funny quips and cutting humor.
8. Stephen Fry
The British comic, writer and political wit knows how to hold an audience in his hand, courtesy of his many lectures and stand-up gigs. No doubt he wouldn’t hesitate to get racy with tinseltown, which could really help boost the fun factor at the Oscar ceremony. His age combined with his sexual orientation would not hurt, either. Think of the Brexit jokes alone.
9. Whoopi Goldberg
Ms. Goldberg might be the single most underrated Oscar host ever. She actually has an Oscar of her own, has done the job before and—when she’s on her game—is one of the funniest people on the planet, Whoopi deserves consideration for a return engagement.
10. Nathan Lane
The out-gay actor has cut his teeth hosting the Tony Awards several times, and managed to keep the ever up tight (more so than even the Academy, if that’s conceivable) Broadway crowd in stitches in the past. Why not consider upgrading him to Oscar territory?
The Oscars air Sunday, February 24 at 5pm PST.