Tag Archives: Neil Patrick Harris

Oscars fixed?

No, they weren’t fixed.  They were quite broken.

That’s why the ceremony lasted until past midnight ET, had not even one surprise winner and was a big ol’ fat yawn.

The only surprise of the evening was the appearance of Neil Patrick Harris in the opening number.  Martin Short was scheduled to do the honors, but had to pull out just days before the show due to ‘personal reasons.’  So, Harris was the unannounced fill-in.  My hopes soared.

And then were slowly suffocated by the standard awards show jokes and parade of predicted winners.


So I propose the following fixes for the next decade of Academy Award broadcasts.

  1. Go back to five Best Picture nominees.  You upped it to 10, and there were still less than five legitimate contenders for the award.  You simply made the show longer, not more competitive.
  2. Hire new writers for the broadcast. We have all these great sitcoms doing really creative television.  Can’t we find a new way to be funny in a televised awards show other than to put the nominees in the audience on the spot?  I hate that.  They hate that.  And nine times out of 10, it’s just not that funny.
  3. Skip the long tributes to the nominated actors/actresses. Some of them were quite good.  Most of them sucked.  Show a longer clip of the nominated role instead.  You might actually get people to go to the movies.
  4. Hire permanent hosts. Have Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman alternate years.  Guaranteed charm, talent, good looks and triple threats.  I’m happy.
  5. Guarantee interesting shows. If all predicted winners win after the votes have been tabulated, randomize a minimum of five categories for the shock value alone.  The audience will stay tuned if they know that might be coming.

Now that sounds like an award winner.

Nothing but NPH

There’s talk swirling in the ‘hood again about Regis Philbin’s replacement.

(I say the ‘hood because the “Live with Regis and Kelly” studios are just a few blocks from my apartment. Yeah —  I’m that hip.)

The chatter first begain when Regis had heart bypass surgery a few years ago, and the parade of replacement hosts began.  I think we know who won that go-round:  the incomparable Neil Patrick Harris, with notable stand-outs Anderson Cooper, Bryant Gumbel and Pat Sajak.

But then Rege recovered nicely, and “Live” soldiered on.

In December of last year, Rege was out yet again for over a month, this time with hip replacement surgery, and the co-host dance was back in full swing.  Anderson Cooper was there — a lot — and some fresh faces, too.

But no Neil Patrick Harris, who I think we all agree is Kelly Ripa’s soulmate at the desk.

My take on it?  After triumphs at the “Tony Awards” and “Emmys” and “American Idol,” he may have outgrown the guest host role.

NPH is simply too H-O-T.

But I still believe, on the day that Rege retires, NPH would be the best choice for the longevity of “Live.”

If he’s not too big to fit in the chair.

DV-no R

I can Skype live with someone in China for free, but Time Warner Cable’s DVR can’t shift forward to record all of “Saturday Night Live” when football coverage runs long?

Come on.

This week’s show, hosted by Charles Barkley with musical guest Alicia Keys, was going along swimmingly.  I don’t know when I have laughed as consistently and as hard since — well, since Justin Timberlake or Neil Patrick Harris hosted last year.

And then, dead air.  The “Would you like to Save, Delete, or Restart?” buttons appeared.  And there was at least another 30 minutes to go in the show.

Now, I know I have many options available to me to catch the sketches that I missed.  NBC.com.  Hulu.com.  Any number of web blogs that will attempt to link to the sketches — and be successful for a few days — until NBC pulls them for copyright infringement.

But it’s the principle of the thing.  If my DVR is high-tech enough to know when the TV show is playing in the first place, it should be savvy enough to know the show has been pushed back because the Cowboys game ran long.

Nuff’ said.


Host boast

No one does Regis Philbin better than Neil Patrick Harris.

He even beat out Regis for “Best Regis” in the annual “Live with Regis and Kelly” Relly Awards competition.  He’s that good.

So, the minute Regis announced to last week’s Las Vegas audience that he was taking a leave of absence from the show to have hip-replacement surgery — we’re talking 4-6 weeks off, people — my first thought was…

Neil Patrick Harris.

Let’s face it.  He is the obvious choice to fill Regis’ chair.  He triumphed at the Tonys.  He elevated the Emmys.  He can keep the Rege in ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’ and, at the same time, give us a glimpse of what the show could be in that far away future.

Look — I love Anderson Cooper’s silver hair in the host chair, and am often charmed by Bryant Gumbel’s new-found sense of humor…but Neil Patrick Harris is Kelly’s hosting soul mate.  He’s the sun to her moon, the yin to her yang, the salt to her pippa.

Gelman, if you’re reading this — and if you are, hire me soon in some over-paid capacity– please, give us Neil Patrick Harris while Regis is away.

It will be legen — wait for it — dary!!

La la la…ha ha ha

So, I’ve had this theory for a while.

I think episodes of “Saturday Night Live” tend to be funnier when the guest host is a male celebrity in his mid-20’s to early 30’s.  The SNL writing staff is predominantly male and around this age (at least in their minds) and just writes better stuff for a host that is more like themselves.

Case in point:  Justin Timberlake.  Zac Efron.  Neil Patrick Harris.  Paul Ruud.  Anna Faris.  (She counts as a guy.)  Shia LaBeouf.  Jake Gyllenhaal. They have all had incredible shows — really funny stuff.

Of course, even I look at that list and think — that’s a pretty impressive group of talent.  But we’ve seen really funny people appear on SNL and suck wind.  So, that’s not always a given.

And then someone like Taylor Swift appears on SNL as both the musical guest and the host.  Now, I personally felt this was a huge risk.  Obviously, she can sing.  But who thought Taylor Swift was going to be able to hold her own as host? Has she done any kind of acting up to this point?

But she did.  I thought Saturday’s show was hilarious. But a big part of that was the writing.

Taylor got the writers on her side.  And she’s not a male celebrity of the appropriate age.  She falls outside my hypothesis.  How did she do it?

Here’s my new theory:  Taylor let ’em ‘have at her.’  Gave them her personal life and let them play. No topics were off limit.  And it worked.

So, then I went back and looked at the other shows that I liked from the past.  Zac Efron poked fun at his own success on “High School Musical.”  Neil Patrick Harris did an inspired salute to “Doogie Howser.”  Jake Gyllenhaal did his opening monologue in drag.

Maybe they all were successful for the same reason: no holds barred comedy.  I just didn’t notice until Saturday.

Go bunny business!

Here comes trouble

The award shows of late have earned ratings gains and critical and audience acclaim by casting multi-talented showmen as their hosts.  Neil Patrick Harris charmed everyone at this year’s Emmy and Tony Awards, and Hugh Jackman is rumored to repeat his world-class performance at next year’s Oscars.

And now the Golden Globes, which hasn’t used an actual host since the 1980’s, is following their lead by casting as its host…Ricky Gervais.

Say wha??

Don’t get me wrong.  Ricky Gervais is funny.  He has had some hilarious turns as an awards presenter on the Emmys and Oscars.  I particularly liked his observation at this year’s Emmy Awards:

“The thing about the Oscars and the Golden Globes is they’ve got film stars there, with their jawlines and chiseled looks, making me feel bad. But in this room – I’m not being funny – I’m probably above average. Here, Steve Carell is considered handsome. But Rainn Wilson, we’ve got to be honest… he’s weird, even in this company.”

Funny stuff.  And typical for Gervais.  He is great in small doses, and even then, someone is gonna get poked at.  Or slammed.  Or totally offended.

I am also reminded of Gervais’ turn at the austim benefit held just up the street from me at the Beacon Theatre in New York City’s Upper West Side.  Jon Stewart hosted the evening, and Gervais entertained for a few minutes, where he pretty much dissed the people they had gathered to support.  It was funny, but in a very uncomfortable way.  I’m sure everyone was glad he was simply featured, and not hosting…’cause they could get him off the stage.

Charm is one of the most essential elements of a successful awards show host, but it’s not a word I associate with Gervais.  Charm not only broadens an award show host’s appeal, but it also saves him when things go awry.  Let’s face it — not every joke or bit is going to go as planned, and a quick-witted, charming line can save the day.  (Google “Neil Patrick Harris Tony Awards Brett Michaels”.)

Of course, the Golden Globes are the rebels of the televised awards, so in that respect Gervais is a perfect fit.  But I think the producers have to remember — no matter how ‘hip’ the Globes think they are, they are playing to the same audience.

So if Gervais has his own ‘Uma Oprah’ moment, I promise not to say “I told you so.”

(I’ll think of something more original.)