So I gotta ask: Why? Has the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences lost its collective mind? The Oscar broadcast drew just 38.9 million viewers on Jon Stewart’s watch in 2006. That number was smaller than the 39.9 million drawn by this year’s ceremony hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. (Compare both to the 55 million who tuned in for Billy Crystal back in 1998. Those were the good old days.) I was on the radio that Oscar morning in 2006 and Australian Broadcasting Corp. said they’d never heard of Jon Stewart and asked me to explain who he is. Great host choice for international audiences. Now AMPAS is choosing him — again — to host their 80th awards on February 24th? Here’s what I wrote about his Academy Award gig back in 2006, Why Jon Bombed:
“At least Jon Stewart admitted he was a poor choice to host the Oscars, given that his film experience amounted to little more than ‘the fourth male lead from Death to Smoochy.’ That filmed bit of schtick at the start of the telecast underscored how hard it is to get a decent host for this nightmare of a show. So it was inevitable that he’d bomb. And, yes, bomb he did. He looked nervous and edgy, his timing was way off, his standup ran in super slow-mo, and his jokes flatlined. What’s more, he didn’t even try to make excuses for the movie industry; instead, he acknowledged, ‘Let’s face the fact that this has not been the best year for Hollywood.’ Especially when they can’t get a better host than you, Jon-boy. Even his sharp political humor, what little there was of it, was dull. He slammed the Democrats twice, and told only one Cheney joke. (That got his biggest laugh.) He didn’t lay a glove on Bush, and what’s up with that? Isn’t that why we tuned in, to see Mr. Liberal get himself in trouble with the Red State Right? Then he sets up what starts out like a winner, noting how ‘a lot of people say this town is too liberal…out of touch with Mainstream America…a moral black hole where innocence is obliterated in an orgy of sexual gratification and greed…’ But then he ends with, ‘I don’t really have a joke here.’ Why not, for chrissakes? Didn’t this gig pay you to write punch lines? Hang on, even Jon just told the audience he’s a ‘loser.’ Well put, at least for tonight.”
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