The 2017 Tony Awards: Kevin Spacey’s Hosting Gig Was No American Beauty

Kevin Spacey hosted the Tony Awards on June 11th, and his shtick crumbled like a house of cards. On paper, Mr. Spacey seemed like a good choice to host the event. He started his career as a stage actor, won a Tony in 1991 for his work in “Lost in Yonkers,” and served as artistic director of London’s Old Vic for over a decade. The guy has Broadway in his veins. Credentials aside, Kevin Spacey was a terrible host. His performance at the Tony’s was bad enough to make Frank Underwood cringe.

 

When it comes to determining the worst host of an awards show, the field is crowded. James Franco and Anne Hathaway are widely regarded as being the worst hosts in Oscar history, although David Letterman was blasted for his Oscar hosting skills in 1995. Hosting a big budget, globally televised awards show is a difficult job. It’s a balancing act of likeability, charm, stand-up comedy and cutting-edge provocation. If a host goes too far, the crowd and audience turn on him. If he doesn’t go far enough, critics say his performance is lackluster and uninspired.

 

Kevin Spacey’s performance at the Tony Awards featured a lackluster opening monologue, outdated impressions, questionable musical numbers, misfiring gags and insider jokes by the dozen. The show was fours hours long and far less politicized than last year’s broadcast, when “Hamilton” won 11 awards and the Pulse nightclub shooting, the worst in American history, claimed 27 lives earlier in the day.

 

Instead of doing Bill Clinton and Johnny Carson impressions or a song and dance number about his hosting abilities, Kevin Spacy could have cleverly criticized Delta and Bank of America for withdrawing sponsorship of the Public Theater in New York City. The conservative media wrongly accused the theater of advocating the assassination of Donald Trump. It was the perfect time for Kevin Spacey to sing about the value of free speech.