"We want to assure you that we have no intention of being edgy or offensive tonight," Poehler declared, "because, as Ricky learned the hard way, when you run afoul of the Hollywood Foreign Press, they make you host this show TWO MORE TIMES!"
Unlike Gervais, who some observers felt had crossed the line when he was presiding, the Poehler-Fey duo proved charming and adorable, yet still had bite.
Addressing Globe-nominated director Kathryn Bigelow, whose "Zero Dark Thirty" includes wrenching scenes of torture, Poehler scored laughs and even gasps by conceding she hadn't followed the uproar about the film, "but when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who was married for three years to (director) James Cameron."
Fey noted that Ben Affleck, soon to be named best director, had shot his first two films in Boston. "But he moved this one ('Argo') to Iran, because he wanted to film somewhere that was friendlier to outsiders."
They had fun zinging the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which administers the Golden Globes.
Poehler, seeming to mistake HFPA for a medical condition, warned that, "When left untreated, HFPA can lead to cervical cancer."
On a couple of occasions, Fey placed herself at a table in a silly disguise, where she was included among a category's group of nominees.
With a shaggy wig and mustache, she was identified among those up for best actor in a TV film or miniseries: "As the professional volleyball player battling restless leg syndrome — Damian Franciso in 'Dog President.'" Needless to say, Damian Franciso didn't win anything except chuckles.
The broadcast wasn't as raucous as it has been in past years. On the other hand, it wasn't nearly as refined as "Downton Abbey" (for which Maggie Smith won as best supporting actress though, alas, was a no-show).
All in all, Fey and Poehler made good on their promise and stewarded a fun, funny show in a fashion the Oscars might envy. An achievement like that should be grounds for these funny ladies hosting the Globes two more times — at least.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier