With less than a week to go before the Academy Awards ceremony, returning host Jon Stewart talks to the New York Times this morning about how he’s feeling invigorated by the challenge of putting together an Oscar show in the very brief window made available to him by the strike. He also seems to relish the tricky dilemma facing every Oscar host: how to strike a balance between paying homage to the bigwigs sitting in the front rows of the Kodak Theater and deflating their pompous egos for viewers at home. (Ah, so that’s why Chris Rock hasn’t been invited back.)

Sure, Stewart sounds sanguine, but he’s gotta be panicking inside — who wouldn’t be? Even though he won’t admit it, PopWatchers, he needs our help. Offer him some suggestions in the comment section below. I’ll start you off:

• Don’t make too many Clinton/Obama/McCain jokes. This is Hollywood, not The Daily Show.
• Don’t joke too much about Lindsay, Britney, Paris, et al. This isn’t their night either.
• Do feel free to joke about Jack Nicholson; he’ll probably guffaw the loudest, and everyone loves those Jack reaction shots.
• Do think up some way to link There Will Be Blood and Juno — maybe an order of burger (phone) and milkshake combo?
• Don’t sing.
• Do find a way to work Stephen Colbert into the proceedings.
• Wanna borrow Javier Bardem’s cattle gun and Peter Tork wig as sight-gag props? Go right ahead.

What else?

addCredit(“Jon Stewart: Bob D’Amico”)