Hosting an awards show is a wretched task. By their nature these things are ponderous affairs that drag on and on and on. They're filled with frequent and monotonous lulls, awkward guest presenters improvising lame gags and vapid and repetitive acceptance speeches.
The host's job is to transcend this tedium, to elevate the experience and have the audience thinking they're watching an exciting and vibrant event. They set the tone, bring the magic, and make the whole hootenanny bearable.
On the face of it the job's simple enough: stroll on stage, bust out a few zings then spend the rest of the evening riffing on variations of, "please welcome to the stage these clowns from radio or for some puzzling reason this soap actor to present the award for Best Music".
Spend a minute or two faffing about with the sponsor's new product at some point and boom! You're golden. Job done. Where the beer at?
Easy, right? So where did it all go so horribly wrong for poor old Taika Waititi, the host of the recent Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards?
By many accounts it didn't. The word from people who attended the ceremony is that he did a stellar job, keeping things moving at a brisk pace and busting out the lols.
If the glammed up audience at Auckland's Vector Arena had been the only ones watching, then Waititi's hosting prowess would be the stuff of legend and he'd have lined up a solid little earner for as many years as he chose to suit up and say, "Welcome to the awards!"
So you could say it's a real bugger that TV3 broadcast the event live.
Because away from the frenetic energy of the room, the palpable excitement in the air and the constantly flowing free booze, something of his performance got lost in translation.
The viewers at home weren't excited to be out, dressed up in their glad rags and buzzing off their proximity to bona fide musical legends like Mick Fleetwood and Lorde. No.
They were instead sitting on their couch in comfy old relaxopants, precariously balancing their dinner plate on their knees and nipping to the loo during the constant ad breaks.
These are two extremely different vibes that call for two vastly different approaches.
While those at Vector were rolling in the aisles at Waititi's off-the-cuff remarks and assumed braggadocio, the people at home were rolling their eyes at his unscripted non-jokes and cringing at his misplaced arrogance.
Viewer reaction was swift and brutal and culminated in a collective thumbs down. So vehement and vocal was the distaste for his hosting style that he felt compelled to fire back at the haters on his social media channels the next morning.
"I was an amazing MC," he posted on his Facebook page. And while I don't 100 per cent agree, I do admire his chutzpah in the face of such a harsh backlash.
The truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle. To say Waititi sucked is grossly unfair. Yeah, I could have done without all the lowbrow peen and poo jokes, but there were still enough moments to justify his position as host. His improvised skewering of the connotations attached to the word "urban", for example, was both brilliantly funny and totally on point. If only there had been more of that.
It might not be a popular view but I hope that Waititi returns to host again next year. Not with a snide belligerence " though I'm sure he wouldn't be able to resist a dig or two " but with a reinvigorated approach.
He posted that he had wanted to "inject some life and energy into that boring, safe, tired old shit" and heaven knows that's exactly what awards ceremonies need. He may not have fully succeeded but bring him back and let him have another crack next year. To borrow from his opening monologue, don't shoot the horse and feed it to the dogs.
As I see it, the one big problem is that Waititi didn't acknowledge the fact that he also had to entertain the people at home. All his schtick was geared directly to the live audience, which, and let's be honest here, is a lot less demanding.
After all, they're so caught up in the glitz of the event that they'll laugh at anything, including shitty jokes about poo.
I guess you just had to be there. The problem being that, via the magic of television, we were.