Hosting an awards show is one of Hollywood’s most thankless jobs — Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh will surely be reminded if they dare to check their Twitter feeds while hosting Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremonies. Taking swipes at the poor suckers tasked with keeping the audience awake has become more popular sport than picking the winners.
At least Samberg and Oh will have each other to lean on.
Comedy duos have gone out of fashion on the stand-up circuit — with good reason. Club performers should be connecting with the audience, not the other doofus on stage.
But when it comes to a gig as daunting and massive as overseeing an international awards show, sharing podium duties, as well as the high-stakes pressure, makes sense.
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey showed off the power of two when they emceed the Globes for three sidesplitting ceremonies from 2013 to 2015. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood have perfected their Sonny and Cher routine over more than a decade of headlining the CMA Awards.
At one point, the Academy Awards employed half of Hollywood as hosts. In 1958, the roster included Bob Hope, David Niven, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Rosalind Russell and Donald Duck. But the Academy has generally stuck to a single host in recent years. The exceptions: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in 2010 (they killed) and James Franco and Anne Hathaway in 2011 (they died).
With this year’s Oscar host still up in the air after Kevin Hart bowed out, it may be time for the Academy to take another chance on a duo. Here are five suggestions we’d love to see team up for cinema’s biggest party — or any other awards show.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
It’s only been three years since the end of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” but we’re already pining for a reunion. Since the split, both have padded their credentials, Key with his critically acclaimed turn as Horatio in the Public Theater’s “Hamlet,” and Peele with his Oscar-winning sensation, “Get Out.” Hopefully they haven’t become too big to bring back some of their sketch show’s signature characters, including Barack Obama’s “Anger Translator,” at least for one night.
Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig
These late-night MVPs were never “Saturday Night Live” cast members at the same time, all the more reason why watching them play off each other would be such a treat. The only reason it wouldn’t work is if they copied what Michael Che and Colin Jost did at the Emmys last year, turning the ceremonies into a not-very-special edition of “SNL.”
Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph
They specialize in scene-stealing on screen, but they also did a pretty slick job of owning the 2018 Oscars ceremony. No one remembers what categories they announced, but memories of Rudolph moaning about her tight shoes (“My pinky toe fell off”) and Haddish ad-libbing a shout-out to Meryl Streep (“I want you to be my mama one day”) lasted long after the Champagne hangovers.
Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks
During each of Jimmy Kimmel’s turns as Oscars host, he gave serious consideration to using these comic legends as his personal Statler and Waldorf, hurling biting commentary from the cheap seats. The idea never materialized — but he was onto something. Why not take it a step further? Plopping Reiner, 96, and Brooks, 92, on stage for a whole show may require some rocking chairs, but it would be a worthwhile investment.
Steve Martin and Martin Short
Martin has presided over the Oscars three previous times, but never with his best sparring partner, a spitball of energy eager to make more costume changes during the commercial breaks than Katy Perry in concert. After a multiyear stretch of theater shows, which hinge almost entirely on good-natured ribbing and deflating egos, this pair could step in with little to no notice. If the Academy doesn’t hurry up and make a decision regarding its plans for the Feb. 24 event, they may have to.