Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's a full-court, late-night press for Ken Jeong as Oscar host

Ken Jeong, Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

Ever since the Kevin Hart . . . unpleasantness, the nation has been without an Oscar host for this year’s awards show, leaving America in dire peril. Seriously, without someone (preferably not a defensive, entitled homophobe) to ride herd over three-plus hours of unnecessary montages, musical numbers, and the very occasional memorable acceptance speech, the Academy Awards presentation could turn into some sort of bloated, middlebrow evening of watery self-congratulation. Or something. Luckily, there have been some interesting names tossed around (Tiffany Haddish, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kumail Nanjiani, um, nobody), and one guy whose name came up on two separate Tuesday late-night appearances, Ken Jeong.

On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert asked his guest—and four-time Oscar host herself—Whoopi Goldberg who she thought would fit the bill, and she went with Jeong without hesitation. Explaining that nobody’s called her for the gig, Goldberg told Colbert, “I want Ken to do it.” Colbert did ask “Ken who?” at first, but quickly agreed the former Señor Chang would do great job, while Goldberg touted the fact that the Crazy Rich Asians star would, in addition to being a very funny guy who loves the movies, be the first Asian-American host of the show, ever. “It would be a whole series of firsts,” explained Goldberg.

Well, coincidentally or not, Jeong was a guest on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday, where the actor, standup comic, and perpetual scene-stealer fielded Meyers’ question about the job by making a series of pensive noises, standing for emphasis, and telling Meyers, “I was always taught, when you set goals, make sure you keep them very high.” Continuing, Jeong deadpanned, “If I do not become the host of the Oscars, I will consider not only by career but my life a failure.” (That even though Jeong’s got his first Netflix standup special, a holiday special, and that competition show where semi-famous people sing while wearing elaborate headgear coming up.) When Meyers joked that that might sound a little desperate to the Academy decision-makers, Jeong responded, “Seth, my whole career is desperate. That’s my brand.”


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.