Seth MacFarlane’s first public appearance as the face of the Oscars was met with a collective “uh-oh” on Thursday morning. The first-time host helped announce the 85th annual Academy Award nominations with Emma Stone, and his shtick — a mixed bag of material that mocked Stone, the nominees and Hitler — left many feeling less than enthusiastic about his chances for success come Oscar night.
“Is Seth MacFarlane Already a Terrible Oscar Host?” wondered Slate.com with the most Slate-y headline ever.
“[MacFarlane] was guessing what would play as edgy but not actually be edgy,” wrote Jesse David Fox at Vulture in a piece called “Five Reasons We’re Now Worried About Seth MacFarlane As Oscars Host.” “When he started saying, ‘I read that ‘Amour’ was co-produced by Austria and Germany,’ everyone could see a Hitler joke coming down Wilshire Boulevard, a punch line ratified by Mel Brooks in the early sixties.”
Not that early criticisms would stop MacFarlane, ABC and the Academy Awards from going forward with this experiment. Following the randomly announced Oscar nominations on Thursday — HuffPost Entertainment stands in solidarity with Film.com’s Joe Reid: Read the nominees in alphabetical order, you maniacs! — ABC released a handful of promos starring MacFarlane. The videos are funny enough: MacFarlane’s quick wit and delivery seem decided old school, while his jokes (“That’s not how you spell ‘douche'”) have more of an edge. Which is exactly why he was hired in the first place: MacFarlane is very comfortable making Borscht Belt humor seem fresh and new.
What do you think of MacFarlane? Watch the clips below, then take HuffPost Entertainment’s poll about whether he’ll make a good Oscar host.