Fey explained their return engagement by noting, "This is Hollywood, and if something kind of works they'll just keep doing it until everybody hates it."
Not these returnees, who again presided with seeming effortless sass and hardly a joke off-target. During their shared opening routine, Fey's zinger about George Clooney and his penchant for dating younger women may have been the most riotously received wisecrack in recent awards-cast history.
While Poehler and Fey set the perfect irreverent tone for the Globes and its party-hearty tradition, the three-hour live broadcast from Beverly Hills, Calif., was remarkably well-behaved.
Emma Thompson played up the Globes' boozy reputation by arriving on stage barefoot to present the screenplay award in very non-Emmy, non-Oscar style, with her Christian Louboutin high heels in one hand, her martini in the other.
"I just want you to know, this red," she declared, pointing to the shoes' trademark red soles before tossing them over her shoulder, "it's my blood."
But her display was clearly all in fun.
A few impolite words did erupt. Winning as best actress for her miniseries "Top of the Lake," Elisabeth Moss blurted out one of them. It was efficiently bleeped.
But whoever was tending the button miscalculated big time with Jacqueline Bisset.
Accepting her trophy as best supporting actress for the miniseries "Dancing on the Edge," the clearly surprised Bisset voiced a lengthy, rambling acceptance that triggered the get-off-the-stage music.
Still talking undeterred, Bisset fired off a profanity that began with the words, "And the people who have given me ... "
Oddly, TV viewers didn't hear that first part of her statement. It was bleeped. But what did get through TV sets loud and clear was the forbidden final word.
Another minor glitch reared its head later on for co-presenters Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie.
"I'm not gonna lie to you," Hill said, grinning into the camera. "Right now, they put up the wrong stuff on the TelePrompTer."
In a flash, Robbie was handed a sheet of paper for the pair to read.
Overall, the program was fun, fast-moving and refreshingly uncluttered with the usual awards-show dross.
All due respect was paid to Woody Allen (himself predictably a no-show) by Diane Keaton in accepting his Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Keaton delivered a mini-seminar on the greatness of Allen's film career, especially his skill at creating women characters.
Then she wrapped up her tribute in quirky style by saluting her friend of 45 years with a familiar children's song: "A circle is round, it has no end," she sang. "That's how long you're going to be my friend."
A comic highlight of the evening was "Mr. Golden Globes." He was introduced by Fey as "my adult son from a previous relationship" but turned out to be Poehler done up as a fussy lad who groused, "This is stupid! I hate being up here!"
"Don't you talk to me like that," Fey shot back. "Do you want to go live with your father"
"I can't," was the churlish reply. "You won't tell me who it is!"
"Well, he's here tonight," snapped Fey. "So look around."
With hosts like that, it was hard not to look forward to next year's Globes, when these Golden gals will be back again.