He wasn’t great, and he won’t get asked back. Billy, we need you!!

Review: Stewart Disappoints As Oscars Host
By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
NEW YORK – You would have been more amused Sunday night if you’d revved up your TiVo and played back an evening’s worth of “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” reruns while you tracked Oscar winners on the Web.
Stewart, usually a very funny guy, displayed a lack of beginner’s luck as first-time host of “The 78th Annual Academy Awards,” which ABC aired live from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.
His usually impeccable blend of puckishness and self-effacement fell flat in the service of Oscar. But he wasn’t alone. The rest of the broadcast was largely bland and by-the-numbers.
Couldn’t presenter Russell Crowe have departed from his script and clobbered someone (even Stewart) with a telephone, just to jazz things up?
Thank goodness for the occasional attempt at cleverness, as when the presenters for Best Makeup arrived on stage in foolishly awful makeup: Will Ferrell scarlet-faced and Steve Carell corpse-pale.
And in a funny bit, Tom Hanks demonstrated the Academy’s new strategy for speeding up acceptance speeches. Onstage musicians not only surrounded him but physically assaulted him to keep it brief.
Wait, this wasn’t too far from the truth. From the instant each Oscar recipient began speaking, the orchestra’s mewling Lite-FM assault began stepping on the winner’s remarks, as if to play them offstage before they’d even opened their mouths. It was distracting and obnoxious, and undercut what are, potentially, the night’s grandest moments.
Also irksome: a prevailing message through the broadcast preaching that movies should be seen on the big screen of a movie house, presumably at full ticket price. (Remember, DVDs: bad.)
The broadcast began on a shaky note with a filmed intro that found past Oscar host Billy Crystal being introduced as this year’s host, then declining, followed by Chris Rock, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Mel Gibson, even Mr. Moviephone √≥ none of whom wanted the gig.
That seemed to leave it to Stewart by default. Maybe it’s come to this.
Sure, he’s an outsider √≥ a New York-based comic and TV personality. The sort of star who reminded the audience that “tonight is the night we celebrate excellence in film √≥ with ME, the fourth male lead from ‘Death to Smoochy.'”
But as the night wore on, Stewart proved too deferential, too nice and too obvious in his targets.
His biggest monologue laugh: In reference to the swan dress that singer Bjork wore to the 2001 Oscars, Stewart announced gravely that she wouldn’t be on hand this year: She “was trying on her Oscar dress and Dick Cheney shot her.” Tiresome squared.
Late in the broadcast, the flashy, high-amp hip-hop number “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” surely roused any dozing viewers. And once Three 6 Mafia members Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard had received their Oscars for Original Song, Stewart got a big laugh by observing, “I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp.”
But more typical were Stewart’s misfires, one of which he tried to recover from in a desperate way unworthy of him: “I am a loser,” he declared.
Not true. He’s really funny. The many millions of Oscarcast viewers unfamiliar with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” should tune in and see. If they do, that will make Stewart the biggest winner from Oscar night.