The MTV Movie Awards is that awards show that can only ever be one of two things: Either a semi-painful mix of awkward and boring, or a lot of fun. With awards like Best Kiss and Best Fight, the acceptance speeches are always unpredictable (as are the clothing choices). But perhaps the most unpredictable aspect of all is the host.
Throughout the past four years, hosts have included Aziz Ansari, Jason Sudeikis, Russell Brand, and Rebel Wilson, each of whom created a very different show experience. So what can we expect from the 2014 MTV Movie Awards now that Conan O’Brien has been announced as the host?
Conan’s success will depend solely on where he focuses. Don’t get me wrong, I love Conan. But like all hosts, he needs to be able to recognize his strengths. Where Conan is best is in his interaction with others, whether it’s skits that make others feel slightly uncomfortable or conversations with celebs, when he delivers that unexpected (probably self-deprecating) line that makes everyone laugh. Can he deliver a funny stand-up bit on his own? Sure. But he’s much better when he has someone to play off of (hence, Andy Richter).
If we’re basing this on past performances, then his opening bit as host of the 2006 Emmy Awards gives me hope. By placing himself inside some of the most popular shows, Conan was able to use his creativity to create something that was pretty fantastic. I’d like to officially request more of this:
So here’s what I’m hoping we can expect from Conan as host: Multiple pre-taped group sketches, as well as a number of on-the-fly sarcastic remarks. Let’s cut down on the scripted stage time, though some is expected. He can learn a lot from Ellen DeGeneres’ recent showing as the Oscars host. She had a great opening bit, but she didn’t try to go outside her comfort zone. She kept things simple: She ordered pizza, interacted with celebs, and let the jokes come on their own. For Conan, less is more.
On the downside, we can probably also expect some of his typical gestures — the overzealous head bob and the evil finger tapping thing he does all the time. Will there be cartoonish voices? Of course. But let’s also hope there will be some of that spontaneous wit that makes us love him so much.
All in all, I think Conan is a bit of an odd choice for the MTV Movie Awards. It feels a little like MTV is either having an image crisis or trying to improve said image. And by picking someone who’s an experienced host as opposed to a popular actor, I have no idea what the result will be. My gut tells me that it will be a good show, but maybe not great. I think there will be some potential viral videos that come out of the night, but with a self-proclaimed awkward ginger will come some awkward moments (that might not cause laughter), especially when you consider that the MTV Movie Awards and Conan don’t exactly mix. Conan hosting the Emmys? That I understood. But I can’t quite wrap my head around this Conan and MTV pairing. Perhaps he’ll go so big and ridiculous that it will work?
Regardless, by the end of the night, I have a feeling we’ll be saying the same thing I’m thinking now: MTV and Conan don’t quite mix.
The MTV Movie Awards air Sunday, April 13, at 9 p.m. on MTV.