The gamble in handing the Oscars presenting gig to Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane paid off with a risque performance shot through with wicked wit.
Kicking off with a song - We Saw Your Boobs - celebrating A-list actresses flaunting their breasts (and thereby providing a handy internet list) he went on to reel off a series of off-colour gags, including one at the expense of Rihanna and Chris Brown.
'Your jokes are tasteless and inappropriate and everyone ends up hating you,' Shatner forewarned in a video broadcast showing future headlines booing MacFarlane's performance.
Gasps and nervous chuckles followed as MacFarlane went on to joke that the profanity-laced screenplay from Django Unchained was "loosely based on Mel Gibson's voice mails", when he first saw Ben Affleck's facial hair in Argo he thought, "the Kardashians have made the jump to film", and that the only man to truly get inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth, before chiding the audience with, "Really, a hundred and fifty years and it's still too soon?".
"Congratulations," he said after revealing the supporting actress nominees, "you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein."
The Academy is to be commended for signing up the edgy MacFarlane to add irreverence to an awards show that threatens to sink into treacly respectability, but not even he could stop the show running and running.
But, he had sharp barbs about the stuffed ceremony stating at one point, "We've been here so long we'll start the 2014 Oscars right after this".
His best line of the night though was, "9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis is here tonight. And 86 year old Emmanuelle Riva, who was 9 when this show started".
The bad news is that it could be MacFarlane's one and only appearance as host because he cannot afford the time - almost six months - to prepare for the show.
But, MacFarlane is now part of the Hollywood firmament with his directorial debut, Ted, becoming the highest grossing R-rated film of all time and a sequel already in the works, as well as upcoming big screen treatment for Family Guy.
And, although the Oscar ceremony is bigger than any one host, Seth still gave next year's host something to measure up to.