Grammys 2016: LL Cool J, again? Five fresh hosts for next year

Grammys 2016: LL Cool J, again? Five fresh hosts for next year
LL Cool J's back as host for the 2016 Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday night. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

With all due respect, after five consecutive years of leading the Grammy Awards, host LL Cool J no longer generates the kind of hype that music's biggest night deserves.

Change is constant in pop music, but not when it comes to hosting the Grammys. Half a  decade in pop music years, after all, is the distance between "A Hard Days Night" and "Helter Skelter" -- or LL Cool J's "Radio" and "Mama Said Knock You Out."


The Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and Tonys all rotate hosts to generate fresh  conversation. Yet for all of the Grammys' ratings success, LL Cool J has calmly, some would say blandly, guided the proceedings in a pop music world swimming with larger-than-life characters.

Maybe this year LL Cool J will knock us out with razor-sharp wit and hilarious take-downs of big-egoed artists -- and earn a return invite.  If not, below are five options for next year.

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. He's a drummer, she's a guitarist, and together they are the co-creators and stars of the IFC sketch comedy series "Portlandia." Armisen is best known for his work on "Saturday Night Live" and the fake documentary series "Documentary Now!" But he knows music, and he came up in the Chicago post-punk scene. Brownstein is guitarist in Sleater-Kinney and writer of the autobiography "Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl." As a team, they'd inject a jolt of unpredictable joy into the ceremony.

Much like Portland, Ore., commercial music could use some lampooning.

Adele. We could all save some time, and save Adele the energy, if the Grammys hire her to host next year. She'll likely be rolling a dolly-full of Grammys off the stage for her album "25" anyway, so let's cut out the middlemen. More important, few entertainers working today are as gracefully charming and funny onstage. As anyone who's ever seen her in performance understands, Adele's a natural.

Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. They dance. They sing. They present gifts in boxes. The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis of our time would certainly produce a memorably entertaining evening. Bonus: Samberg's wife, Joanna Newsom, can confuse the masses with her work on the harp.

Nicki Minaj. The camera loves the kaleidoscopically talented Minaj, whose fearlessness onstage is equaled only by her charisma. Do you think Ricky Gervais was tough on the nominees at the Golden Globes? Give Minaj a Swizz Beats beat and let her rap her way through an opening monologue. She's got enough personae to populate a medley. Better yet: Team her with Miley Cyrus.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker. A Grammy Awards written and directed by the creators of "South Park" and "The Book of Mormon" would add cliff-hanging hilarity to a show that lags in viral moments. Unlike the MTV Video Music Awards or the BET Awards, the Grammys can be an overly earnest prime-time celebration of one of life's most joyous pleasures. A full Stone-Parker musical production would resonate long after the awards were tallied.

Honorable mentions: 

Lena Dunham and Jack Antonoff. (Too twee?)

Cher. (Have you seen her Twitter lately?)

Kanye West. (See above.)

Aziz Ansari and Jennifer Lawrence. They're just friends! They'd be great hosts!

Johnny Depp. Just kidding. Seriously, no.


Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit