If this year's choice for Academy Awards host makes you go "wha?!", don't feel bad. Not everyone knows who Seth MacFarlane is, even if they are familiar with his work.
In an attempt to make the Oscars relevant again and appeal to a younger demographic, the show's producers asked MacFarlane -- the mastermind behind the highly successful animated show "Family Guy" and the box office hit "Ted" -- to take on his toughest gig yet.
Not only is some of the audience at home unfamiliar with him, his humor and his extensive array of voices, but the same goes for many people who will sit across from him Sunday night, dressed in their best evening gowns and their most expensive jewelry. The world's biggest actors, actresses and Oscar nominees are a hard crowd to please and they don't take personal stabs lightly, so MacFarlane will have to tread lightly. He's encouraged to be funny, but he can't afford to be offensive.
Before the show airs Sunday night (7 p.m. EST on ABC), here are some things you need to know about the first-time host:
- MacFarlane is 39 years old and lives in Los Angeles, Calif.
- He attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied animation.
- He named his production company "Fuzzy Door" because the door to his apartment when he attended Rhode Island School of Design was covered in fur.
- He began drawing cartoons at 2 years old and published his comic strip "Walter Crouton" in his hometown newspaper by the age of 8.
- He has three animated shows on Fox: "Family Guy," "American Dad," and "The Cleveland Show." Those, together with his big-screen summer hit "Ted," make him worth an estimated 36 million.
- He voices three of the main characters on "Family Guy": Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin and the dog, Brian.
- In "Ted," he is the voice of Ted, the foulmouthed, bong-hitting teddy bear, opposite Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.
- In 2008, Entertainment Weekly named him "The Smartest Person on TV."
- He was nominated for a Grammy in 2011 for a solo album that has him singing '40s and '50s American classics, and he won two Emmys, one in 2000 and the second in 2002.
- He took vocal lessons from Lee and Sally Sweetland, who trained Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra.
- He is a gifted pianist.
- His Twitter account is less funny than you would expect. He has 3.6 million followers, retweets often, and updates it almost every day.
- He hosted the first "Saturday Night Live" of the current season on Sept. 15, 2012.
- He was scheduled to be on one of the hijacked planes of 9/11 (American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center North Tower) but missed the flight. His travel agent, who gave him the wrong boarding time, effectively saved his life.
- He used the word "erection" in one Oscar promo. ABC refused to air it but it appeared online and ESPN ran it.
- Previous Academy Awards hosts that inspire him and from whom he'll try to take cue are Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope. MacFarlane also thinks that next year, Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler will host the awards ceremony.
- His post-Oscars project is rumored to be another big screen film, this time a Western starring Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and MacFarlane himself.