Lazy? Genius? Neither. Just James Franco

March 2, 2011, 12:17 a.m.

Before last Sunday’s Oscars, I was super excited to see how Palo Alto native James Franco would do as co-host. Sure, Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes was probably the funniest/most painful hosting experience there’ll ever be, depending on how you saw it, but I had a feeling that James Franco’s turn might end up being even weirder.

We’re talking about a guy who’s down for acting on General Hospital (and pretty much playing himself – his character’s name is Franco), the same guy who’s capable of turning in an Oscar-nominated performance for 127 Hours (and who apparently referred to himself in the third person on set). A guy who simultaneously attended four graduate schools at once (Columbia for MFA writing, NYU Tisch for filmmaking, Brooklyn College for fiction writing, Warren Wilson for poetry) and is now a Ph.D. student in English at Yale, while also attending the Rhode Island School of Design. A guy who somehow took 62 units at UCLA (where the normal course max is 19) while still acting.

Because of work and other commitments, I only managed to catch about the last third of it (unlike James Franco, I don’t have the ability to manipulate time in order to do more things than are humanly possible), but from what I saw, Franco’s performance was probably what I should have expected. I was thinking that he might approach hosting with that superhuman work ethic of his and turn in something we’d never seen before. Well, at least I was right on half of that – it certainly was something we’d never seen before, a seemingly detached/bored/stoned host looking like he was completely phoning it in.

A lot of people apparently hated his performance, but I thought it was kind of hilarious, and very characteristic of a dude who seems to pop up in the most random things, as if he’s doing it just to do it. With Franco, you never know if he’s being serious or not, and at the Oscars, it was hard to tell if he was actually disinterested or if the whole night was some sort of meta performance art.

Lazy? Genius?

Neither. Just James Franco being James Franco.

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