EVEN the best stand-up comedians have their off days.

It’s horrible to watch a presenter trying to make people laugh, but fail miserably and sink without trace in front of an audience.

But you do not have to be a genius to work out that scenario is more likely to happen if either or both of the following is true of the host:

1 The person is not great at delivering jokes.

2 The jokes being delivered are about as funny as comedy night with Jacob Rees-Mogg.

So, why on earth Joanna Lumley ­— not known for her one-liners ­— would choose to deliver the material she did at this week’s BAFTA awards ceremony will forever remain one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.

If you haven’t seen it, trust me, you’re lucky and to save you the heartache, here’s an indication of how terrible it was.

Usually, when a famous member of an awards ceremony audience is caught on camera, they at least make an effort to laugh, giggle, smile or even smirk at the host’s jokes.

But the monologue from Joanna just sparked a Mexican wave of cringing. There was silence as she told ‘joke’ after ‘joke’.

The only thing missing was tumbleweed blowing across the Albert Hall stage, accompanied by the sound of single bell tolling.

After Joanna praised Steve Coogan for his performance as Stan Laurel in the brilliant Stan and Ollie, she told the audience how she was “indebted to him for helping me on with my Queen Anne outfit”.

“That’s another fine dress you got me into,” she said, to a deafeningly silent auditorium.

Coogan couldn’t even force himself to smile politely; he just grimaced at the spectacle of Joanna basically dying on her arse. Another quip was even more cringe-inducing.

Joanna mentioned the Spike Lee movie BlacKkKlansman and told the gobsmacked audience that she was “surprised it did so well at the Klan Film Festival.”

It takes a special talent to host this sort of awards ceremony successfully. The presenter needs to be able to walk the tightrope between taking the Mickey out of the A-list guests with near-the-knuckle material, while still being funny without offending them.

It is a job best suited to a comedian with charm and wit, used to thinking quickly and with a keen eye on content quality control.

The Oscars later this month will have no host for the first time in 30 years. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart stepped down after homophobic Tweets he had made several years earlier surfaced.

For a time, actor and comedian Billy Crystal made the slot hosting the Academy Awards his own, presenting it eight times. The greatest of them all, however, was Bob Hope, who hosted the ceremony 18 times.

Having no host will surely make what is already a slog of a US luvvie fest even more of an ordeal to sit through. Having said that, after Joanna’s performance, no host is definitely the way to go for next year’s BAFTAs.

next year.

Better still, get some proper comedians to do the job.

I’d love to see wee Jimmy Krankie presenting the Best Actor award. Fandabidozi!