The Academy Awards is facing quite a predicament about selecting a host for its 2019 ceremony. After tapping, then ditching, Kevin Hart due to some jokes he made about homosexuality a decade ago, they are left carefully contemplating his replacement.
It wasn’t long after his announcement as host that the outrage mob was demanding an apology for those old tweets. The Academy agreed, and asked Hart to apologize or they would remove him from his duties. Hart said he had already apologized for the jokes on several occasions and did not want to submit to a demand for further apology. Still, he removed himself from the job only hours later, along with yet another apology for his old jokes.
Hollywood’s deeply sanitized, heavily monitored thinking has been apparent for some time, but the current extreme mob mentality is “think exactly like us or don’t work.” Absolutely nothing an entertainer has said or done is off limits to the apology hunters, no matter how old or out of context that infraction may be.
Yet comedy is an area of entertainment that requires pushing boundaries and is incompatible with a climate so politically correct that it can no longer find humor in everyday doubts and insecurities. Every comic working who may be considered for this job will have to publicly apologize for something before he or she takes the stage.
Following Hart’s departure, many names have surfaced as possible replacements, but let me save the Academy some time and show why they are disqualified.
No one’s star has risen faster in the last two years of comedy than Tiffany Haddish’s. She is the current “it girl” for leading female roles in high-budget funny movies, having starred in eight major films since 2016.
She has been an awards show darling, and her name was immediately floated as a replacement for Hart. Unfortunately, if potential hosts are to be judged on years-old tweet jokes that could be interpreted as homophobic, Haddish is disqualified. They include: “then I turned into a ugly fat lesbian, and I could not stop eating tacos. Scared the sh-t out of me still crying”; “Why when I get my hair braided it makes my monkey feel funny? Oh just me?”; and “it almost makes me feel gay but thats why the person that braids my hair is a big Black dude out of Jail named Sug.”
To the Los Angeles Times in 2017, Haddish also expressed her desire to work with disgraced comedian Bill Cosby. She said, “I still want to work with Bill Cosby, I don’t care, I’ll drink the juice. I’ll drink the juice. I’ll take a nap. I don’t give a damn. [laughs] But seriously, I would love for him to play my grandfather in something.”
No love for Cosby allowed at the Oscars.
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) December 8, 2018
Another name that has been proposed as a Hart replacement is Donald Glover. The comedian and actor had a big year in 2018, both in his work on “Atlanta” and as his alter ego, “Childish Gambino.”
Glover made headlines with his music video for “This Is America,” which was praised as both creatively genius and inspiring for young, black Americans. He’s young, funny, and a positive role model for marginalized youth, which makes him an ideal candidate for the Oscars.
Unfortunately, Glover’s early days as a comedian didn’t predict how high his star would rise, and he too has a checkered past with offensive comedic material. In an Internet sketch called “Bro Rape” that has largely been forgotten, Glover and his friends joke about the rising crisis of bros raping each other. Warning: graphic content.
As Childish Gambino, Glover’s lyrics should also not be ignored. He often references rape, misogyny, and an obsession with Asian women. As a comedian, he is a staunch defender of the word “retard,” and has joked about fighting midgets.
He also once compared the financial strain of having a child to having AIDS. Seems like Glover does not quite have the chops to be the perfect host after all.
If strong virtue-signaling is what the Academy truly wants, Sarah Silverman should be the perfect choice. She’s currently starring in her own, super-woke talk show on Hulu, “I Love You, America,” and has become somewhat of a spokesperson for progressive causes.
She is outspoken in her disapproval of the president, and a strident supporter of abortion and Planned Parenthood. Sarah’s past as a comedian seems to contradict her current moral values, however. Once known for being edgy and controversial, she has several problematic jokes to reconcile if she ever wants the coveted hosting gig.
In this 2001 appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Silverman goes full tilt with ethnic jokes, even using the word “chink” in joke about getting out of jury duty.
In 2007 on her own show, “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Sarah appears in blackface makeup in a storyline about switching places with her black friend for a day. The comedian has also joked about child molestation and used homophobic slurs on Twitter. Sarah has quite a bit of public penance to pay if she wants the biggest platform in liberal Hollywood.
Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland (Nick Kroll and John Mulaney)
In recent days, many on social media suggested that this fictional duo revive their roles from “Oh, Hello!” on Broadway and host the Academy Awards. The duo is well-loved, and many find their brand of humor well suited to Hollywood’s biggest night.
Well, Gil and George may not have problematic pasts with jokes, but Nick Kroll and John Mulaney certainly do. Kroll is known as the creator and star of “Big Mouth,” a social justicey animated series that recently dedicated an entire episode to the wonders of Planned Parenthood.
Before Kroll prioritized leftist politics, however, he was famous for playing the incredibly crass and offensive Rodney Ruxin on “The League.” Kroll will have to repent for his time in the role if Gil is to be welcomed at the Oscars. Always the biggest bully in his group of friends, Ruxin named his fantasy football team the blatantly homophobic “Pete Top, Kevin Bottom.” Ruxin was also never afraid to make a rape joke.
Mulaney does not have a character like Ruxin lurking in his past, but he gleefully made “playfully anti-Semitic” jokes in his special “New in Town.” Sadly, that is also disqualifying. Gil and George will have to sit this one out.
Jon Stewart and John Oliver
Stewart is perhaps the best-known icon of left-branded comedy and often considered the original dissenter against conservatives in late-night comedy. His turn on “The Daily Show” is widely reflected on as a humorous but intellectual stand against oppressive politics.
Early in Stewart’s days as host of the show, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was absorbing the news cycle at a ferocious rate, and comics everywhere were having a field day. While every late-night host crossed the line with salacious jokes about Lewinsky, Stewart stands apart as the meanest in his unabashed slut-shaming of the young woman.
As recently as 2008, he doubled down on his pride in making disgusting jokes about a woman who lived for ten years in exile. Here he and then-correspondent John Oliver joyfully revisit their favorite swipes at Lewinsky.
Then in a 2014 episode of “The Daily Show,” Stewart reiterated his delight in making blow job jokes about the former White House intern: “Monica Lewinsky has returned to network TV. … I remember years ago she said she wanted her life back. Then I guess she got it back and said ‘Well, this sucks.’ … She’s hosting a show called ‘Mr. Personality’ because apparently the new Fox show ‘Blow Jobs, Blow Jobs, Blow Jobs’ isn’t ready.”
Slut-shaming is a no-go for Oscar hosting, Jon.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
The favorite “Saturday Night Live” duo have already shared hosting duties for the Golden Globes several times, so they seem like a natural choice to tap for the Oscars. Both are considered feminist icons who support equal pay and women in show business.
Yet they have sometimes run afoul of the required groupthink about using racism in comedy. While “30 Rock” was sometimes under fire for Tracey Morgan’s occasional sexism and homophobia, Fey’s current show, “The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt,” has received the strongest pushback because of its use of race as humor.
White actress Jane Krakowski is cast as a Native American woman who is easily able to disguise her racial identity with bleach and contact lenses. Early seasons also featured a Vietnamese character named “Dong,” who was such a stereotype of Asian-Americans that it made people uncomfortable.
Attempting to make a joke out of the love interest between Kimmie and Dong on the show, another character comments, “For some reason, that Asian fetish thing tends to go one way, white guys and Asian women. But swim upstream, and a lady can clean up.”
Fey also received backlash for casting two American actors as Afghans in her movie, “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.”
While Amy Poehler has had less controversy in regard to racial sensitivity, she made her distaste of identity politics clear during a rather contentious interview with The Hollywood Reporter. While these ladies may be feminists, they can’t seem to get it quite right in jokes about racism.
Dave Chappelle and Wayne Brady
Often considered one of the greatest comics of all time, Chappelle has also been floated as a possible host. Anyone in the outrage community who wants to see Chappelle in this role must have a short memory. Chappelle is a non-apologizing comedian who has never been shy about making a controversial comment if he thinks it will be funny.
In two of his four Netflix specials released in the past two years, he has joked extensively about transgender people, much to their ire. In addition to jokes about Caitlyn Jenner being gross and scarring his memories, Chappelle quips, “I support anyone’s right to be who they are inside, but to what degree do I have to participate in your self-image? Why do I have to switch up my pronoun game for this mother–ker?”
Laughing at his situation in a follow up special, he says, “You know who hates me the most? The transgender community.”
In this “Chappelle Show” sketch with beloved clean comic Wayne Brady, the two joke freely about violence against women, which should effectively eliminate Brady from contention to host as well.
Don’t expect any apologies from Chappelle, and don’t expect him to host the Oscars.
Another non-apologizing comedian, Jerry Seinfeld has enjoyed a prolific career in comedy that has consisted of very little controversy. He did happen to make this joke, however, about a gay French king scrolling through his phone that should serve as his official disqualification for being homophobic.
Stephen Colbert and Steven Carrell
Who could be better than the president’s number-one enemy on late night, Stephen Colbert? The man has made a career making political jokes that make virtue-signaling celebrities happy. Surely he’d be a perfect choice to host the Oscars.
Not so fast. When Colbert was a cast member of “The Dana Carvey Show” in the 1990s, he participated in racist sketch that would in no way fly today. Steven Carrell should also be voided from consideration by this clip alone.
Past Hosts Who Would Now be Disqualified
2016 Oscars host Chris Rock joked on Instagram that he had lost another job to Hart. Rock used the word “faggot” liberally in his 2008 special, “Kill the Messenger.” While actually hosting the Oscars, he also made stereotypical jokes about Americans with Asian heritage.
Billy Crystal did a Sammie Davis Jr. sketch in blackface makeup. Davis’ daughter thought it was funny, but it is doubtful the modern Academy would.
Steve Martin famously parodied King Tut without being at all Egyptian.
David Letterman was only outshined by Jon Stewart in his slut-shaming of Lewinsky.
Jimmy Kimmel makes headlines with his deep political values now, but he made homophobic jokes earlier this year during a feud with Sean Hannity, not to mention his oft-forgotten days of sexism and homophobia on “The Man Show.”
This list could go on forever, because no comedian has a record that would satisfy the outrage culture that exists today. Most of the jokes mentioned in this article have already been apologized for, and many comics have stressed that they have grown as a person since the time of their controversial jokes, but it will never be enough.
No comedian or genre of comedy exists that is incapable of offending someone, so the only acceptable solution is to pick the most progressive, intersectional “comedian” available who couldn’t possibly offend anyone, thus eliminating the idea of funny from the Oscars broadcast.
The Chris Rock paragraph was added after publication.