Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus' bit in which they bumped into one another and mixed up acceptance speeches marked one of the best moments of last year's Emmys.
But it wasn't as funny as the year before when Poehler, Tina Fey and their sister Best Comedy Actress nominees bounded to the stage and preened Miss America-style until Melissa McCarthy was crowned winner. Or 2009's gag when Poehler wore an eye patch and convinced most of the nominees to don goofy glasses.
That kind of gentle, yet mocking irreverence will serve Poehler and Fey well as they prepare to host the Golden Globes Jan. 13 on NBC. The news, coupled with the recent announcement of "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane as Oscars host Feb. 24 on ABC, bodes for an awards season worth laughing at.
For Fey, one of our strongest comedic forces, the gig marks an opportunity for a victory lap as she ends a seven-season run on "30 Rock" that proved a critical and creative success. It's also a good sign she plans to keep playing the comedy game.
For Poehler, the Globes stint comes as "Parks and Recreation" begins to get the recognition it deserves, setting the stage for the wonk-driven comedy to anchor NBC's Thursday night lineup as "30 Rock" and "The Office" bow out after this season.
While either of the quick-witted comedians would be fine hosting alone, they're a proven team, from their Second City improv days to "Baby Mama" to "Weekend Update" to their 2008 dueling Sarah Palin-Hillary Clinton sketch, a "Saturday Night Live" classic.
Still, they face the formidable challenge of replacing Ricky Gervais, who owned the Globes over the last three years, fearlessly puncturing Hollywood pretensions with his sharp, untethered tongue.
Gervais would have been a great pick to host the Academy Awards. But we're pleased with the choice of "Ted" director MacFarlane, who never met a sacred cow he didn't want to topple. He's also a talented singer, an Oscars-friendly skill.
Fey, Poehler and MacFarlane presumably will follow the lead of Gervais, who revived the seemingly forgotten notion that awards shows shouldn't be a celebration of Hollywood as much as an opportunity to tweak the stars while entertaining a mass audience.
MacFarlane and, to a lesser extent, Fey and Poehler, aren't instantly recognizable to the worldwide viewership these shows attract. But we suspect they'll offer laughs quickly enough to give them global appeal.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.