Comedians are sometimes funny, except when they aren't.
Seth MacFarlane is a good singer, a good dancer, he does wonderful voice impressions, but he isn't that funny and unfortunately everyone watching the Oscar presentation on Sunday night found that out the hard way, myself included.
Oh don't give me that look, Seth MacFarlane is the creative brains behind Family Guy: a program that makes fun of everyone. It is the only type of humour he is capable of delivering.
The Oscar producers were taking a chance hiring him as host. Seth was the "rebound" host after James Franco and Anne Hathaway failed to, well, failed to do anything in 2011 (yawn). In a knee jerk reaction, they enlisted the polarizing comedic services of Seth MacFarlane, perhaps hoping that he might illicit some flicker of emotion – inject some energy.
Well, I guess he did achieve that. MacFarlane's humour created controversy from the moment he took to the stage. His politically incorrect, middle school style of comedy poked fun at women and homosexuals: his shocking comment about the assassination of Lincoln was cringe-worthy.
The entire evening was a swing and a miss. I am not sure what they were going for, but they definitely failed to entertain.
The Twittersphere was rife with commentary about the Oscar host. Piers Morgan tweeted: "Amused by Twitter indignation to @SethMacFarlane cracking bad taste jokes. He created Family Guy, not Glee. #Oscars".
He is right. Presumably, the Oscar Producers could have asked anyone, ANYONE else, but they chose to ask the Family Guy creator knowing exactly the type of humour he delivers. Does his show demographic even watch the Oscars?
Of course there is a valuable lesson in all of this (the Oscar's always seem to teach a lesson to event planners, sometimes it is a lesson about sound quality, sometimes about lighting – but there is ALWAYS something).
The lesson is: If you play with fire, you are going to get burned.
Have you ever considered hiring a comedian for your event? Here are some tips to save you from potential catastrophe:
- Do a Risk Analysis: Is it risky? Are you willing to take that risk?
- Think: Is hiring a comedian the best choice?
- Know your audience!
- Testimonials, testimonials, testimonials! – Ask for, and review very carefully, the testimonials about the comedian under consideration. Compare apples to apples, i.e. consider testimonials from planners who have hired the comedian for a similar event.
- Preview the shtick – ask for links to video that you can preview before making a decision
- Determine the "rating" in advance – let the comedian know that you are expecting a "G" rated performance not an "R" rated performance. Include it in your agreement.
I don't know if I am more disappointed by the fact that I donated hours of my life to watch the Oscars or that instead I could have been watching the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final between Team Manitoba and Team Ontario.
As always, I am playing Tuesday morning quarterback. Thankfully, awards season is now over.
Judy Kucharuk is owner of Footprint Management Systems Inc. and specializes in Green Meetings and Event Innovation. Currently President of GMIC Canada Chapter in Formation. For more info log onto her blog www.managefootprint.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter @judylaine