One complaint is that Stewart wasn’t as comfortable presenting his first Oscar show as he is on a cable comedy that he’s hosted for years to a devoted and partisan audience. No shit.
Despite obvious nerves and the pressure to please everyone (never a fertile ground for great comedy), Stewart pulled it off and stayed true to his tone without upsetting Auntie Shirl in Idaho. The monologue was so-so but he noticeably gained in confidence, his most successful moments being off-script riffs. His dry deadpan will have floated over heads accustomed to Billy Crystal‘s showbiz slapstick, but this viewer was delighted by it.
Stewart’s Oscar Gems
On George Clooney, winner of Best Supporting Actor for Syriana: "Very proud of him. that’s the kind of thing that could really get a fella laid."
On Ludacris, who introduced Three 6 Mafia singing It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp: "Ladies and gentlemen, our next guest is a musician. You don’t know him. Go upstairs, where your children are illegally downloading music. Ask them to explain."
On the montages: "Wow, I can’t wait ’til later when we see Oscar’s salute to montages. Holy crap, we are literally out of film clips, we’ve got three hours to fill. Seriously, if you have film clips please send them. I don’t care if they’re on beta."
On the massive Oscar statue behind him: "Do you think if we all got together and pulled down this Oscar statue, democracy would flourish in Hollywood?"
On Three 6 Mafia, who’d just accepted the Best Song gong ("Thank you Jesus… George Clooney my favourite man in the show we love him"): "You know what? I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp.
"How come they’re the most excited people here tonight? That’s how you accept an Oscar. I think if there’s one way of reaching out to the people here tonight about the difficulties of being a pimp, it’s through the medium of interpretive dance."
On who’s won what: "For those of you keeping score at home, I just wanna say one thing: Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars. Three 6 Mafia, one."
On Cinderella Man not getting a nom for Best Make-up: "Imagine the difficulty in making Russell Crowe look like he got into a fight."
On Jessica Alba and Eric Bana: "In the event of nuclear war, I would like these two people to re-populate the earth."
* JS on Bush, the Grammys and more: The Jon Stewart Intelligence Agency
* The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, More4, tonight at 8.30pm
* Academy Awards Post Show, E!, today at 2pm and 6pm
* 78th Academy Awards (highlights), Sky One, tonight at 10pm