4 Award-Show Hosting Debacles That Tanked Faster Than You Can Say ‘Jo Koy’

Uma? Oprah
4 Award-Show Hosting Debacles That Tanked Faster Than You Can Say ‘Jo Koy’

Jo Koy continues to get pummeled on social media after his disastrous hosting debacle at last night’s Golden Globes. It’s the show business equivalent of having this kind of day at work.

But Koy isn’t alone. He joins an illustrious list of stars who biffed it big time while hosting a major awards show. Here are four more celebrities who blew their chance on some of the world’s biggest stages. 

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Jerry Lewis

These days, awards shows are notorious for lasting twenty minutes longer than they’re supposed to. (That’s why the orchestra is always trying to play off the long-winded winners.) But somehow in 1959, the show ran short — leaving Jerry Lewis with 20 minutes to fill. Never one to be at a loss for words, the obnoxious Lewis vamped shamelessly. He encouraged the orchestra to play repeated verses of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” even grabbing a baton to conduct himself for a while. He grabbed a trumpet and gave a few toots. NBC panicked and pulled the plug, switching to a short film before Lewis could do any more damage. 

David Letterman

The acerbic late-night host must have believed he had a signature bit at the 1995 Oscars when he recognized the strangeness and similarities between the names Uma and Oprah

Things probably would have been fine if Dave acknowledged that the gag wasn’t working, but instead he doubled down, going back to the joke another half-dozen times throughout his monologue. The more he seesawed between Oprah and Uma (eventually introducing them to Keanu), the more he lost the audience. “I was trying to save myself,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “‘If you have an extra life raft, throw one to me!’ That’s what I was trying for. It must have been pure survival instinct.”

Chelsea Handler

Handler made Time Magazine’s list of the 10 worst hosts ever for her stint at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. (She’s also Jo Koy’s ex so maybe she gave him some pointers?) What went wrong? According to the Washington Post’s live blog of the show, things went south during the presentation of the MTV Generation Award to Reese Witherspoon. Here’s critic Jen Chaney with her version of what went wrong:


  • 10:08 p.m.: Patrick Dempsey, Robert Pattinson and Chelsea Handler are botching the presentation of the MTV Generation Award. Oh, snap. Pattinson just dropped an f-bomb.
  • 10:10 p.m.: What is Pattinson saying? Even Chelsea Handler looks uncomfortable and she's probably had at least one shot of vodka.
  • 10:14 p.m.: I can't even fit the number of ways that was awful into a single paragraph. Was there or was there not a rehearsal for the presentation of the MTV Generation Award?
  • 10:15 p.m.: Witherspoon just cursed too. Yet somehow, it seems classy when she does it.

James Franco and Anne Hathaway

An all-time mess, pairing the overeager Hathaway with the couldn’t-care-less Franco. “It was like the world’s most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theater camp cheerleader,” one of the show’s writers, David Wild, told The Ringer

The Hollywood Reporter sniped at the dual hosts after the show: “In what could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history, a bad and risky idea proved out in spectacularly unwatchable fashion.” 

You know who else thought Franco and Hathaway were terrible? Anne Hathaway, who bluntly told Andy Cohen: “We sucked.”


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