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Kevin Hart Has More Than Earned an Oscars Hosting Gig

The comedian is the good kind of unfiltered, and he’ll bring the right kind of edge to the show.
Kevin Hart Jumanji
By  · Published on December 5th, 2018

Look, I love awards ceremonies. I love the tuxedos, the fancy dresses, and debating which movies deserve to be there. I look forward to speeches from filmmakers I admire. I like seeing cameras focusing on sad losers. I am all for the drama these events cause sometimes. But they are overlong, often dull, and very procedural, which means an entertaining host to break up the monotony is key. The good news is that the latest host is a freakin’ great haul for the Academy.

After months of speculation over who will host the 2019 ceremony, comedian and actor Kevin Hart took to Instagram and confirmed that he’ll be carrying the torch. He seems pretty thrilled to be a part of the upcoming show, describing it as the “opportunity of a lifetime.” That said, there aren’t many comedians working today who are a better fit for this gig, either. Especially during a time where the hosting job is supposedly no longer as sought after as it used to be.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the gig is a tough sell these days. No one worthwhile wants to accept the duty. As a result, the Academy struggled to find the perfect host this year. In their eyes, the ideal candidate should be a box office draw, funny, topical, politically aware, and young-ish. Someone who appeals to a youthful audience while still satisfying the old-guard. A host who won’t alienate viewers who lean left, center or right too much. And, perhaps most importantly in this day and age, someone who will not make headlines for the wrong reasons (but won’t be bland, either). Hart ticks all of these boxes.

The comedian’s brand of humor is often loud, lively, unfiltered, and hysterically entertaining. While his stand-up shows are not politically correct by any means (he calls women “bitches” far too often, but he counterbalances it by skewering men, too), the edgier side of his comedic palette isn’t grossly distasteful. He’s also a diverse performer who’s capable of toning it down without losing any of the qualities that make him so unique and entertaining. In the past, he’s performed bits about taking ecstasy and having sex with cushions. However, he’s also capable of delivering PG-13 humor that is accessible to general audiences — like that time he impersonated Dwayne Johnson. The Oscars will likely see him channel a happy medium.

I don’t doubt for one second that Hart will say some outrageous and ballsy things at the ceremony. He’ll also playfully rib the celebrities in attendance and unleash a few headline-grabbing zingers. But he won’t resort to cringe-inducing shock humor for the sake of causing controversy (Seth Macfarlane, anyone?). We can expect some unpredictability and just the right amount of cheekiness, which is the kind of edge these awards ceremonies need. Plus, whenever Hart says something off-the-wall, it tends to boast an element of truth or insight that only the best comics can muster.

He’s also a fantastic storyteller. His monologues are as engaging as they are funny. In addition to his stand-up, his 2015 Saturday Night Live appearance is a prime example of his ability to tell a captivating tale. The audience ate up every word as he took a story about mundane family life and turned it into a lively adventure about a thug raccoon. If he uses his time at the ceremony to tell similar wacky stories, he’ll blow the roof off the place.

Of course, one of the main reasons to tune into the show is to see if Chris Rock appears. Rock has hosted the ceremony twice in the past and it would be a wasted opportunity for him not to appear and bicker with Hart. There’s lots of comedy gold to be mined from an exchange like this, and given their friendship and Rock’s own history with the event, it’s very possible. Heck, in the past Hart has been mistaken for Rock by a “fan.” I can picture the former host showing up and claiming that Hart is an imposter who’s trying to steal his gig. Besides, it would be a great way to promote their upcoming movie collaboration, Co-Parenting.

More than anything, though, Hart seems genuinely grateful for the opportunity to host. His Instagram post suggests that he’s genuinely honored to be involved, even though he’s arguably above the Oscars’ pay grade. By mentioning how his mom would be proud of him, you get the impression that he won’t take this evening for granted. When Hart drops his shtick — as he does often at the end of his shows — he’s very humble, blessed, and even more likeable. Which means he’ll be able to shift emotional gears at the ceremony as necessary and provide a nice blend of humor, humanity, emotion, and heart.

If the THR report is to be believed, and the hosting gig really is the least wanted job in Hollywood, they should be thrilled about nabbing someone of Hart’s star power, talent, and prowess. Even if they could pick any celebrity in the world to host, Hart should still be their number one priority for the 2019 show.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.