Jon Stewart Versus the Oscars
This could be quite a collision: The hottest comedian of the year against a show so long it counts as a missing time episode. The Oscars take place this Sunday through Tuesday, and I am genuinely curious and psyched to see if Jon Stewart can pull it off. My guess is that he will excel and redefine his career overnight. And he could, especially if he has the opportunity to show his comic chops in real time, reacting to something as it happens. As strong as he can be with the prepared material, the adlibs are often more dazzling. Jon Stewart is a comedy monster.
Of course, so was David Letterman when he hosted and he practically left the show on a stretcher. Remember Stupid Pet Tricks at the Oscars? Yikes, what a dud. Before that was over the orchestra was playing Taps.
Chris Rock was as hip as they’ve been before this and I thought he was so-so. Don’t get me wrong: I love Chris Rock – I once stood outside the Schnitz just to watch him walk by. The guy glows with comedic talent and he has the requisite quality that many comedians don’t understand: Basic decency. Underneath the material there’s a level of goodness. I think even Sam Kinison had that. Not the kind of goodness that sucks up to society, but this basic feeling that if it were left up to this individual, there would be more justice and less pain in the world. There’s an image for you: Sam Kinison hosting the Oscars. Now that would have been deep.
Anyway, Jon Stewart has the decency thing. You can see he’s genuinely outraged and concerned about the direction this country’s going in. If I were Karl Rove, I’d actually be sweating this a little. Jon Stewart and his writers could come up with a line that takes another 10 points off the Bush administration.
This could be hero time. If he’s as funny as he normally is, this could be the best awards show ever. If you only check your watch when it ends, Jon Stewart will have been extraordinarily great. With the Oscars, it’s a victory if you don’t check the calendar.