When The Oscar hashtag trending is #GaryfromChicago you know there is a shift in the air. I’m a huge fan of audience engagement and I’m thrilled to see the trend taking off. I always say the better the audience, the better the host. And in my opinion, Jimmy Kimmel is THE MAN when it comes to hosting. He employs all the audience engagement skills I love….


Be Human

You can’t get more human than last night’s Oscar ending. The audience was in shock when they found out that the Best Picture was announced incorrectly. Their reactions were real and the Hollywood stars became just like us. And so did Jimmy Kimmel. He adorably took the blame and made a joke that he wouldn’t be back next year. Self-deprecating humor is the best way out of a tough situation.

Leave the Stage

God bless Hollywood and Jimmy Kimmel for bringing in the audience as the new star this award season. It started at The Emmy’s when host Jimmy Kimmel left the stage and performed his opening monologue in the audience. He joked with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jeffrey Tambor. Then he fed the starving audience peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made by his mom. He was worried they hadn’t eaten since Labor Day and needed a meal.

Be Inclusive

At last night’s Oscars, Justin Timberlake opened the show in the audience with his performance of Can’t Stop the Feeling. All of Hollywood was dancing and clapping together. It almost felt like a Hollywood flash mob dance.

Give Gifts

Since it worked so well at The Emmy’s, Kimmel fed his Oscar audience. This time, Junior Mints, Red Vines, donuts and cookies fell from the Dolby Theatre sky. He welcomed LA tourists into the LIVE show which has never been done before. Denzel Washington married tourist couple Gary and Vicky from Chicago and the new bride received Jennifer Anniston’s very expensive sunglasses as a wedding gift. Hilarious!

Give Compliments + Be Unexpected

Later, Kimmel told Lin Manual Miranda’s mom that her son is an American treasure and with perfect timing, Matt Damon tripped his friend Jimmy.

Audience engagement at award shows may have started with the iconic selfie Ellen DeGeneres took at the 2014 Oscars, followed by her collection of pizza money. It may be driven by social media and reality TV. Whatever the reason, it’s working and I love it! Bring on the audience for every show Hollywood, and please bring back Jimmy Kimmel!

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