Could comedy be the cure for what ails the flailing Oscars? With viewership in the target 18-49-year-old demographic diminishing, insiders have been pulling out all the stops to draw in a younger audience. What other reason could there have been to explain the James Franco/Anne Hathaway debacle of 2011? After that fiasco, they brought back slapstick schleptser Billy Crystal... but the proverbial funny guns need to be bigger. Hence, Seth MacFarlane, who is frickin' hilarious — in a slightly blasphemous, politically inappropriate, lampooning-American-culture kind of way.
Low blows and puns will elicit a few solid laughs, sure. But virtually nobody with a pulse can resist a punch line delivered in a fake accent. MacFarlane has an arsenal of accents to choose from: Peter Griffin, Brian Griffin, Stewie Griffin (good heavens, please let Stewie make a cameo!) and Glenn Quagmire from Family Guy; Stan and Roger from American Dad; Tim the Bear from The Cleveland Show; and even Ted the disgruntled talking teddy bear from the highly rated Mark Wahlberg movie of the same name. We can't wait to see if he breaks out a deadpan impression or two of fellow entertainers or side-splitting parodies of past hosts.
As hysterical as MacFarlane is, his talent is no joke. He may not have an Oscar, but the multifaceted funnyman does have a few awards of his own, including two Primetime Emmys, an Annie Award and a Webby Award. His braininess was even annoyingly impressive enough to land him top honors as Entertainment Weekly’s "Smartest Man on TV." He's got a lot to bring to the Oscar-hosting table, so to speak, but we're most excited about his singing. We all know the Oscars can drag on (and on and on), and musical numbers help break up the monotony of hearing yet another entertainer thank his or her producers, directors, agents, mamas etc. People might actually really laugh at MacFarlane's musical bits, as opposed to simply eking out a forced chuckle when the cameras pan in for a close-up.
Granted, tiger-blood-drinking-trainwreck-of-an-alien-warlock Charlie Sheen offered up plenty of ammunition for a roast via his cuckoo-bird antics of the past few years. But could anyone make taking things too far funnier than Seth MacFarlane? We think not. As roastmaster extraordinaire, he didn't hold back any punches. When he opened with an obituary for Sheen, some thought it was in poor taste, but such is what makes MacFarlane so obscenely funny — he says the things we are all thinking but feel too uncomfortable to cop to. If he decides to go rogue roastmaster-style at the Oscars, he can pick from a smorgasbord of scandalous movie stars to skewer — John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes alone could keep him busy for the entire four hours.
Watchdog groups like the Parents Television Council have been hounding Family Guy for years, baying about its "indecent" content. The criticism hasn't gone unnoticed — the series has been cancelled not once, but twice. But fans of Family Guy don't go down without a fight — the show keeps getting revived by Fox due to fanatical outpourings of support from fans. Even if MacFarlane bombs this gig, chances are his fans will tune in, watch their comedic deity work it onscreen and then go to it in the online debates, defending to the death everything from his outfit to his off-color jokes.
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