Ricky Gervais returns Sunday as host of the Golden Globe Awards, welcome news to viewers who thought his predecessors, Amy Poehler and “Mean Girls” creator Tina Fey, weren’t mean enough.
But for every fan who delights in watching the British comic skewer the Hollywood elite, there’s one who pines for a master of ceremonies with more class, kindness and the ability to break into a tap-dance routine honoring “The Big Short.”
Pleasing all tastes sounds like an impossible order. But while Santa was sliding down your chimney, Tony Stark took a break from his Iron Man duties to stop by our offices and drop off a kit with all the components needed to assemble the ideal host. With the proper tools, and a little ingenuity, we think we’ve created a Frankenstein’s monster that would turn heads on the red carpet for all the right reasons.
The key components:
Can think fast on one’s feet; reacts brilliantly to unscripted moments, from streakers to Taylor Swift interrupters.
Prototype: Billy Crystal, whose improv skills got a workout during the 1992 Oscars. Winner Jack Palance’s one-armed push-ups gave his “City Slickers” pardner plenty to work with, but Hal Roach provided him with a setup for the ages when the 100-year-old director tried to give a speech from his seat without a microphone. “I think that’s fitting,” said Crystal, waiting just a beat, “since Mr. Roach started in silent films.”
Despite whatever tragedy is happening in the real world, puts live audience at ease with no assistance from the lobby bartender.
Prototype: Before taking daytime TV by storm, Ellen DeGeneres had the daunting task of handling the Emmy Awards just three weeks after 9/11. The comedian struck the right tone of respectfulness and defiance in an opening monologue that included the line, “What would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit, surrounded by Jews?”
Willingness to sing for one’s Wolfgang Puck-catered supper, offering the occasional showstopping number to help get us through the tech categories.
Prototype: “Best Time Ever” didn’t work, but triple threat Neil Patrick Harris scores in smaller doses, particularly when he’s emceeing the Tonys. We’re still catching our breath from the 2013 opener featuring Bob Fosse moves and magic that would get a standing ovation from Houdini.
Makes three-hour-long ceremonies zip by like a junior-high slumber party. Expert at pretending that it’s cooler to be a presenter than a nominee.
Prototype: Who doesn’t want to be besties with “Saturday Night Live” standouts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? The in-sync team even made last year’s digs at North Korea during the Golden Globes (with Margaret Cho) seem as harmless as the joke page in Reader’s Digest. We look forward to their new partnership — as long as it isn’t “Sisters 2.”
Demands attention and respect from a room full of people who spend every waking hour demanding attention and respect.
Prototype: Even die-hard conservatives have to admit that President Barack Obama has a sharp sense of humor. He utilized it to great effect recently on Jerry Seinfeld’s latest installment of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and in toasting George Lucas last month at the White House — where he wondered aloud how many philosophers got their start arguing over whether Han Solo shot first. Also capable of leading a rousing version of “Amazing Grace.”
Not afraid to poke a little fun at Hollywood elite, even if means being barred from Harvey Weinstein’s birthday party.
Prototype: Here’s where Gervais shines — and why this year’s Globes are worth watching even if you have no intention of ever sitting through “The Revenant.” It’s a wonder the selection committee tapped him again after a 2012 quip in which he insinuated that Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie had bribed their way into the field of nominees. Our perfect host would never stoop that low. But maybe perfection is overrated.