Does the Oscars host have to be woke? Does the Oscars host have to be funny?

I don’t pretend to know what’s in Kevin Hart’s heart or going through his head.

The comedy star just threw a “Cowboys and Indians” party for his one-year-old’s birthday (not that his new toddler had any say in the matter). He said he wasn’t going to apologize for his old jokes and social media blasts that exposed his homophobia, claiming that was then and he is living in the now. Then after not apologizing led to him abruptly relinquishing his claim on hosting the 2019 Academy Awards, he did apologize.

We can all probably agree that Hart ain’t “woke.” For whatever that’s worth.

But does the Oscars host need to be woke? Does the Oscars host need to be funny?

Conventional wisdom, or at least tradition, would imply a big yes to both. Even if we’ve endured some painful Oscar moments in past years. Hi, James Franco. Looking at you, ya big boob Seth MacFarlane. And there have been bad production decisions and comedy gimmicks gone unfunny, too.

Throughout, though, Oscar winners have loved to use their acceptance speeches to give shout-outs to causes and people they hold near and dear.

So who should host the Academy Awards in 2019?

I’d vote for someone adored by Hollywood. Someone who knows a turn of phrase. Someone who knows how to command the stage.

If not Kevin Hart, why not Dwayne Johnson? Yes. The Rock should host the Oscars.

(I’d also love to see Melissa McCarthy, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, or Key and Peele, or Meryl Streep, or Helen Mirren, or Will Smith, or I can keep going…)

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →