Halftime Leisure

Alternative Universe: A White Man Isn’t Hosting The Oscars

February 14, 2017

Photo: Flickr

In an alternative universe, Leslie Jones is hosting the Oscars. She yells to Ryan Gosling, “See me after the show, you tall glass of almond milk.” She (still yelling) says, “Jimmy WHO? I do not know him.” She makes thousands of white men across the country slightly uncomfortable. And I am finally content.

This awards season, like so many others, has been whitewashed and man-washed. When are people going to realize that MOST OF THESE WHITE MEN AREN’T THAT FUNNY?!? When Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted The Golden Globes a couple years back, they were HYSTERICAL. But when you get man after man named James up on that stage, relying on other celebrities to save the show, I can’t help but cringe and feel dissapointed. The jokes fall flat and they bring nothing new to the table.

Now, not all of the male Oscars hosts have been bad. Billy Crystal, a white man, is definitively the best host in the show’s history. However, Crystal is a comedic genius, and his one-liners meshed well with the awards show host role. And all female/POC comedians aren’t fit to host the show, either. When Cecily Strong hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner, she bombed. The people who select these hosts need to understand which comedians are appropriate for the role of the host, not choose blindly, which is what it feels like they’re doing .

If the Oscars could get someone like Leslie Jones, or Samantha Bee, or a tag team of Chelsea Peretti and Jordan Peele (a literal dream of mine), they would have a much more successful show. It’s easy enough to discredit hosting when people just watch recaps and look at the red carpet photos the next day, but there are countless women and people of color who are way funnier than the mainstream talk show hosts we’ve been seeing time and time again. And maybe they could bring in viewers.

Furthermore, Hollywood is in a time where they need to challenge standards and stereotypes. Practically every major acceptance speech has been politically inclined, and most of the actors and actresses have been promoting inclusivity and diversity (see: Meryl Streep’s Globes speech). So these awards shows need to have their hosts, the glue that holds it all together, be representative of their message.

A good female/POC host will have the experience in the real world and in the acting world to make poignant jokes that will translate an important message with appropriate, yet edgy, humor. It’s shameful, yet not surprising, that all the major hosts this year were white men, especially with last year’s #OscarsSoWhite uproar and with Beyoncé getting snubbed at the Grammys last night. So get it together, Hollywood. Because we’re sick and tired of guys named Jimmy or James.

Claire Goldberg
is the Voice's former editoral board chair and halftime leisure editor. She "says a lot of funny things," according to Emma Francois.

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