Here's what the Oscars can learn from NYC nightlife pageants!

This year’s Oscar telecast (set for February 26) has been on a hopeful track ever since they announced that an actual comic was going to be the host.

But even Billy Crystal can only do so much. All the stuff around him needs to be spruced up pronto to ensure that the whole Oscar machine doesn’t become as obsolete as silent movies (except for THE ARTIST, of course).

And I know the answer.

For a lifeline, the producers need to venture into New York’s wildest nightclubs and learn some valuable lessons about how to put on a show.

They should stop at the bar for a quickie cocktail and then head to the main stage to soak in any of various downtown awards pageants which are generally produced there for a panting crowd of nominees and admirers. Almost always, they’re breezy, lively, and the opposite of painful.

Just a few months ago, I was one of the MCs of the annual Glammy awards for New York nightlife, held at the long running club Splash. I can’t speak for my own performance–ask around, I guess–but everyone else was top drawer, whereas Oscar’s last hosts made you want to burst through the TV screen and give them a sad hug. Even the Glammys host who blithely arrived halfway through the show ended up being pretty funny.

As someone who’s been involved in a million of these club extravaganzas, let me specify just what the Oscars can learn from such a wonderfully wanton event:

(1) The Glammys only stick to essential categories, so the audience doesn’t go nuts from the tedium. Drop some of the lesser categories, Oscar, or just give  them out offscreen. Even static is more exciting to watch than the announcement of Best Animated Short Long Middle Foreign Live Action Medium-Length 3-D Documentary Musical. Unless you happen to have been in it.

(2) Put in lots of numbers. The Glammys featured a succession of them, and in the midst of all the singing/dancing, they managed to include aerial stunts, pyrotechnics, and even a live snake. Sure, none of those things would have much to do with the nominated movies, but at least they would be crazily entertaining!

(3) Let the winners talk. As long as you’ve got three hours to fill, don’t make the triumphant folk feel constrained or self conscious. When they babble on, that’s when you get the most memorable Oscar moments. Let them embarrass themselves! We’ll love them even more!

(4) Put lots of drag queens in the show! They always dress to kill and they’re great with an ad lib to save an awkward moment–of which Oscar has lately had a couple.

But I hate to promote stereotypes, even positive ones. Except to say: Oscar, you need help! Get thee to a gay bar!