This may be Neil Patrick Harris’ first time as Oscar host, but it’s hardly his first hosting gig. In fact, the man is one measly Grammy ceremony away from a hosting EGOT, having hosted the Emmys (twice), The Tonys (four times), and even the World Magic Awards and the Video Game Awards. (Bring on the EGOTWV!)
And there's good reason he keeps getting invited back. Harris is a consummate showman, a singing, dancing, joke-cracking machine who looks great in a tux and knows how to find his way around a medley. Here are some of the things we’re hoping to see this Sunday, inspired by Harris' hosting gigs past:
NPH has never met a show tune that he didn't like, as his show-stopping medley of Tony Award-winning songs from the 2012 Tonys demonstrated. (We are particularly looking forward to his "Everything Is Awesome"/"Glory" mashup).
And how could we forget this "Anything You Can Do"-inspired medley with Hugh Jackman in 2011, featuring a perfectly choreographed execution of the dance from "A Chorus Line."
The TV Land Awards may not be the Emmys, but Harris’ hosting gig still yielded this amazing introductory video, which featured Harris as characters in a number of classic TV shows, including “Baywatch,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Happy Days” (not to mention a Johnny Carson impression to rival Dana Carvey's).
Harris might be the undisputed master of the original awards show song, from the jazzy “Put Down the Remote” at the 2009 Emmys to 2013's epic "Bigger" (see below). However, our undisputed favorite was the 2011 Tonys' “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore," which had Harris flanked by dancing nuns, sailors, flight attendants and Mormon missionaries while rattling off pithy lines like "we’re asking every hetero to get to know us bettero” and “put down your Playboy and go make a plan, to pick up a Playbill and feel like a man.” (He also knows how to keep things risque, reportedly rejecting the network's demand that he change "No sodomy required” to “same-sex love required").
A closing number:
While some hosts show up for their opening monologue and then disappear -- much like Tina and Amy at the Golden Globes this year -- Harris sticks around to the end. Sure, the last thing one wants at the end of a three-hour telecast is another bit, but the charming closing number at the 2009 Tonys, mashing up West Side Story’s "Tonight" and Guys and Dolls' "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" (with original lyrics, naturally) proved that Harris can keep even the most tedious ceremony alive until the end.
There was also this great "Empire State of Mind" closing number, with Audra McDonald, in 2013.
High production value:
“Bigger,” from the 2013 Tonys, was perhaps Harris' grandest show-stopper to date, a fast and frenetic number with countless people onstage, chock-ablock with costumes, acrobatics, cheerleaders, "Newsies," children, magic tricks, a rap segment, and Mike Tyson for good measure. It's the kind of ambitious, sensory-overwhelming number that makes you believe once again, for a brief second, against all odds, in the ineffable magic of the overproduced glitz and glamor of an awards show night.