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Why Neil Patrick Harris Should Host Every Awards Show Ever All of Them

By Sarah Carlson | Industry | June 13, 2011 |

By Sarah Carlson | Industry | June 13, 2011 |

Oh, the gloriousness of gays. The Tonys never falter in entertaining, and Sunday’s broadcast of the 65th annual awards doled out by the American Theatre Wing was a lesson in how not to bore viewers. Oscar planners, take heed: The Tonys don’t air any of the technical awards, they jam the show with musical numbers performed by mind-numbingly talented people, and they top it off with a triple-threat host who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Neil Patrick Harris can do no wrong once he dons a tux, introduces himself as a teen heartthrob and sings an opening number titled “Broadway: It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore!” Anyone who can work “sodomy” into a lyric has my respect.

Sure, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for theater fans (especially musical theater geeks), it’s a night well spent. That’s more than I can say for shows such as the Oscars — I’m a movie geek, too, but even I’m embarrassed each year the Academy Awards roll around. The best recent Oscar hosting job I can think of was Hugh Jackman, another triple-threat who had a host-off with Harris last night.

The evening was dominated, deservedly, by “The Book of Mormon,” the brainchild of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and the guy behind “Avenue Q,” Robert Lopez. We follow two Mormon missionaries as they travel to Uganda to preach their gospel because “God loves Mormons and he wants some more!” The Best Musical win wasn’t a surprise at all, as Chris Rock discussed before he handed out the award (as he bitched about having missed the Mavericks-Heat game). Oh, straight guys.

Another highlight was seeing Daniel Radcliffe in action as J. Pierrepont Finch in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” He wasn’t nominated last night, but I think he proved himself as more than a child actor.

Sure, the night wasn’t perfect, from Brooke Shields fumbling her bit in the opening number to Christie Brinkley just being way too bubbly. But back to Harris. He’s delightful. He even mastered a closing rap number that was written as the show ran, and if it isn’t a perfect cry for the importance of theater, I don’t know what is. I’m gushy on this, I know — part of my day job has me interviewing community theater actors, from ages 6 to 76, and writing about their productions. Theater can change one’s life, or at the very least, entertain you for three hours on a Sunday night. Give it a try. It’s not just for gays anymore.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.