Sacha Baron Cohen Dumps 'Ashes' on Ryan Seacrest at Oscars: Did He Go Too Far?

Get More: Awards, Controversy, Polls

“Now you know this isn’t taped. Anything can happen, and it most certainly did. All over my lapel. Those were the words of the incredibly professional, surprisingly good-natured Ryan Seacrest, cutting to commercial after Sacha Baron Cohen — dressed in character from his upcoming comedy The Dictator — dumped an urn of ashes over the E! host in the middle of the Oscars red-carpet telecast.

The incident began when Cohen, clutching a gold-colored container, told Seacrest he was carrying late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il’s ashes in his hands. “It was his dream to come to the Oscars and to be sprinkled on the red carpet and over Halle Berry’s chest again,” he said, before “accidentally” fumbling the urn and dumping its contents onto Seacrest’s tuxedo. After a few seconds of fumbling, Cohen continued: “If somebody ask you what you are wearing, you will say Kim Jong-il!” He was then escorted away by some beefy security guards.

Seacrest, never losing his composure or his trademark smile, told Cohen to “have fun this evening,” before chatting with cohosts Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne, both of whom seemed elated by the kerfuffle. Rancic, epitomizing celebrity in the social media age, called Seacrest “lucky” to be part of a moment that would certainly blow up Twitter. Osbourne, meanwhile, told Seacrest it was “the most priceless moment on TV that I’ve shared with you ever.”

“Do you think that I’m lucky? Is this a vision of luck?” Seacrest asked, laughing, before cutting to break.

I dunno, folks: I know it’s Hollywood in 2012, and I know the object of the game is to promote your project at all costs. But to me, Cohen’s stunt wasn’t nearly entertaining enough to support its nasty after-effects. Thankfully, Seacrest is such a pro that he was able to — quite literally — brush the dirt off his shoulder, but Cohen just ended up looking desperate to promote a flick with a trailer that’s surprisingly laugh-free.

To which I ask you: Was the ashy catastrophe a good thing for the E! host? Was Cohen’s joke funny enough to make up for its undeniable obnoxiousness? Sound off below!



Comments (100)

  • No, it was a tired stunt for what will be a tired movie. Baron-Cohen should know when to give up.

    Comment by Lino – February 26, 2012 04:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seacrest should have the jackbutt arrested for assault but he’s too nice a guy to do it.
      OTOH, he should come out on Tuesday’s live Idol with that tux on him.

      Comment by af – February 26, 2012 11:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not even a little funny. Kudos to Seacrest for his poise. I would have decked “the dictator.”

    Comment by Jennifer – February 26, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ^^^ this. very much a pro

      Comment by Betsy – February 26, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was just a silly “dusty” prank! Made funnier because Ryan whined about it over and over again!

    Comment by Jen R. – February 26, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seacrest is a little B. The Oscar morons who decided to keep Cohen out of the ceremony should have been the recipients but Seacrest will have to suffice.

      Comment by KevyB – February 27, 2012 02:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, the people who allowed this idiot to show up should have been the recipiants.

        Comment by Anna – February 27, 2012 03:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • The promo Cohen filmed after being banned was funnier than Seacrest has been in his entire life, so I’d rather give him chances to enliven the most boring show on television than have Seacrest drone his way through half of it.

          Comment by KevyB – February 28, 2012 03:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seacrest will benefit. People will talk about it all day tomorrow.

    Comment by LOL – February 26, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I LOVED it!! I thought it was hilarious, and I think Ryan Seacrest could’ve been a better sport. He seemed really annoyed, despite trying to keep a smile going.

    Comment by Rachel – February 26, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why would he be annoyed? Because a boor dumped something on a tux that cost several thousand dollars at the beginning of the night? Really. You found that sophomoric act funny? Are you 12 years old? As always Sasha Baron Cohen has proven himself to be a classless idiot of dubious talent whose only concern is self-promotion. And Ryan Seacreast could not have been a better sport. He certainly came off as the better man.

      Comment by chistosa – February 27, 2012 06:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s all a stunt. I’m sure E! knew what was going to happen. Sooo stop making this out to be something that it’s not. Get over it

    Comment by Russ – February 26, 2012 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree – it was a stunt – and will garner both parties sufficient press about it tomorrow. Job complete.

      Comment by TOnya – February 26, 2012 04:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • We’re really that jaded, are we? Get over yourselves. It is what it is, and spouting PR conspiracies at every turn doesn’t change anything. There’s always people like you who feel it’s their duty to school everyone in the art of perception. No one cares; this isn’t Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl.

        Comment by Tessa – February 26, 2012 08:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • nothing jaded about it. It’s been reported all week that Baron-Cohen and the Oscars have been in discussion over what pranks he was going to pull. Bet they both knew what was happening.

          Comment by Chris – February 27, 2012 05:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I’m not jaded at all, I work in marketing and if you don’t think these things aren’t planned out in advance – then you’re a fool. While it’s possible Ryan Seacrest might not have known it was going to happen, someone at E did and made very certain it would get captured on camera. Think back to the MTV awards when SBC had the whole thing happen with Eminem – it’s a PR stunt – and they work.

          Comment by Tonya – February 27, 2012 07:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • None of Cohen’s jokes are funny enough to make up for his undeniable obnoxiousness. I wish Hollywood would stop pandering to the fool. As someone said on Twitter: “you know what sacha baron cohen can do to make us laugh? a good movie!”

    Comment by Gilby21 – February 26, 2012 04:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • you mean like “Hugo”? he HAS made good movies!

      Comment by Cmac – February 26, 2012 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Martin Scorsese made Hugo…SBC was just lucky enough to be a part of it!

        Comment by Jen – February 27, 2012 08:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Way too far.

    Comment by Luu – February 26, 2012 04:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • SBC should not have been allowed to dress as this character. It is incredibly disrespectful to the movie he is there for – Hugo. The oscars is NOT the place to promote his next movie.

    Comment by Amanda – February 26, 2012 04:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “It is incredibly disrespectful to the movie he is there for – Hugo” You are so right #this

      Comment by Dave – February 26, 2012 05:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Enough’s enough. SBC isn’t worth the effort to plan these stunts. Let him fade into oblivion already.

        Comment by Anna – February 27, 2012 03:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You are joking, right? The only reason most actors go to the Oscars is to promote their next movie. Also, we all need to quit taking E, Ryan Seacrest and award shows so seriously.

      Comment by Josh – February 27, 2012 07:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope The Soup on E! will have a field day with that one. Ryan definitely has a great sense of humor!

    Comment by Ali – February 26, 2012 04:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I hope so too. I can’t wait to hear what Joel has to say about this!
      And Ryan was great about the whole thing. Must have been tough to kkeep that smile intact…

      Comment by Emma – February 28, 2012 03:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The joke was funny and Ryan took it very well. Inappropriate? Slightly. But still funny.

    Comment by Matt – February 26, 2012 04:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The best and ONLY excitement tonight’s awards will produce.

    Comment by Steve – February 26, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Baron Cohen = I’m not even remotely impressed
    Seacrest = I’m impressed

    Comment by angelstorm – February 26, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish someone could just push Cohen off the side of a very high cliff. The dude is mentally ill.

    Comment by Auds – February 26, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hate that you could see that coming. Such a boring prank after all that stupid back and forth. I am usually not on the side of the Academy, but they should have seen it coming that he would be a d-bag and stuck to their guns.
    Also, to Seacrest? Again, not my fave, but doesn’t seem malicious or harmful to anyone. Of course, I don’t know what he is really like, but he seems like a generally decent person. SBC was already and still is OVER.

    Comment by Kat – February 26, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Totally awesome!

    Comment by A – February 26, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seriously too far. He’s not funny.

    Comment by Adrienne – February 26, 2012 04:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Actually, he’s quite funny. But it’s okay if you aren’t smart enough to understand what he’s doing with his characters. Many people don’t. I don’t hold it against them.

      Comment by JohnDoe – February 26, 2012 05:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Hey you elitist idiot. Many of us understand his characters and plainly just think they suck. He deserves to get his ass kicked for how he acts towards some people. I am sure if anyone did that to his wife or child then he would have an issue. He’s a no talent hack and if people like you and your elitism comments are what make up his fanbase then it makes sense that he still makes money. I.E. you think your smart but you’re really too dumb to know your not.

        Comment by Will – February 26, 2012 05:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • “Only a fool wouldn’t be able to see how amazing the King’s new clothes are”.
          His humour is as talented and original as JackAss and as politically challenging as the black and white minstrel show. The real people who are being sent up by this conceited idiot’s behaviour are the complete morons that think there is something clever about it just because he says so.

          Comment by Ian – February 26, 2012 08:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You can’t be serious. Only a child wouldn’t understand what he’s doing. He’s a third rate Andy Kaufman at his finest, which he hasn’t been in some years. If you think he’s funny, fine, a lot of people seem to think things are funny that I don’t get at all but it’s not a matter of intelligence – especially in this instance.

        Comment by Bec – February 26, 2012 05:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Thank-you. I understand him perfectly. As Bec said, only a child wouldn’t understand what he’s doing. In my opinion, it’s still not funny. Neither is the trend of calling anybody with differing opinions an idiot.

          Comment by Adrienne – February 26, 2012 07:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Most of us are smart enough to understand that making fun of people from other cultures is not funny; which is why I’ve hated him since his portrayal of Ali G.

        Comment by Anna – February 27, 2012 03:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Poor JohnDoe. Thinks he is intellectually superior because he finds the adolescent humor and crass inappropriate behavior of someone brilliant. Now that is funny.

        Comment by chistosa – February 27, 2012 06:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • LOL he is so smart, carrying around fake ashes and pouring them on people. Those dumb plebs will never understand our humour 1!!!!

        Comment by A genius – February 27, 2012 08:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • it was stuppid, it was so unnesesarie , poor Ryan

    Comment by nathalie – February 26, 2012 04:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It was stuppid and unnesesarie.
      Yep. You’re one to talk…

      Comment by jt – February 26, 2012 09:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Cohen has taken his d-bag in a costume schtick as far as it can go. He needs to find a new act.

    Comment by KatR – February 26, 2012 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was an extremely immature prank. Not funny at all.

    Comment by BlueByU – February 26, 2012 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh gosh – stop kissing Seacrest’s derriere, Slezak … it was a silly stunt and Seacrest was obviously not cool with it at all.
    And tired? No way! Tired is all the hook-ups, marriages and break-ups timed perfectly to movie openings. Like we haven’t figured it out, celebrities. This was pretty insane – but it was different. Thank god. And totally not stuffy … which the Oscars have becoming.
    And Seacrest wasn’t good-natured – he looked incredibly uncomfortable and has continued to whine about it. I think if the cameras weren’t on him he would have stomped off crying. Rancic looked thrilled though, which isn’t surprising considering the many blind items of her despising him.

    Comment by Lindsay – February 26, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • *become
      Sorry, didn’t proof read.

      Comment by Lindsay – February 26, 2012 05:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why would anyone think this is funny? Just plain ignorant.

    Comment by Jim – February 26, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “I’m wearing John Galliano, but the socks are KMart. As Saddam Hussein once said to me, ‘socks are socks, don’t waste money’…”
    Brilliant. But then again, I wouldn’t expect much of TVLine’s very female demographic to consider SBC funny. No offense. Seacrest seemed like a good sport about it.

    Comment by JohnDoe – February 26, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Ha – that might have been my favorite line. And I agree – not as popular with the females (I’m an exception though, hooray!)
      Sometimes the physical stunts can get a bit much – but Cohen is sharp and his lines are always cutting and hilarious. Love the guy.

      Comment by Lindsay – February 26, 2012 05:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I, a female, found the sock joke hilarious but the “ashes” stunt unfunny, tired, and blatantly obvious. My gender has nothing to do with it.

      Comment by Gretchen – February 26, 2012 05:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ryan Seacrest basically just got glitter-bombed by The Dictator.

    Comment by nickp91 – February 26, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it was disrespectful to the oscars and I’m not sure it was a stunt…it’s completely ruined their red carpet coverage…i mean, I didn’t tune in to get an episode of the fashion police, which is what it’s become.

    Comment by Lisa – February 26, 2012 05:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I haven’t watched this yet but it certainly SOUNDS funny from the description. Why is this even an issue? I dunno, I gotta go watch it but I don’t get why this would be a big deal. It wasn’t ACTUALLY Kim Jong Il’s ashes. :-P

    Comment by Rachael – February 26, 2012 05:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Update: I just watched it, and you people need to SERIOUSLY lighten up. I really do not get the controversy here … this is by FAR the tamest Sacha Baren Cohen stunt I’ve ever seen. One could certainly argue about how funny it was, but personally I thought it was pretty amusing. And Seacrest handled it completely fine, if anything it makes him look even better in the world’s eyes, because he didn’t freak out about it or get mad.

      Comment by Rachael – February 26, 2012 05:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think the funniness is exactly what people are talking about. I doubt many people think he did something horrible or unforgivable. It was just not funny, and therefore not really worth doing.

        Comment by Daniel – February 27, 2012 08:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really surprised at how negative the reaction is! It’s just fun, and it isn’t like it’s hurting anyone, and it was just dust!! Wipe it off, move on. Jeez, people, just laugh!

    Comment by Rachel – February 26, 2012 05:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t think it’s got anything to do with ‘not being smart enough’. You’re a dick. Sacha Baron-Cohen’s humour is a bit ‘been there, done that’. Not very funny really.

    Comment by Sally S – February 26, 2012 05:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This certainly was a bold stunt (is bold the right word?) by SBC, but it kinda made him look like an ass. The only thing this served for was to prove what a professional Ryan Seacrest is. He basically looked like his head was going to explode but he kept his composure and was even able to joke about it afterward. I agreed with Tina Fey, he’s a good sport.
    And I thought the funniest thing about it all was Ryan having to explain what happened to every consequent person he had to interview.

    Comment by imaginarytuxedo – February 26, 2012 05:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • get the stick out of your asses because that was funny

    Comment by ryan – February 26, 2012 06:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Do not think seacrest saw it coming and they cut cameras on the carpet for 35 minutes. Totally shook up seacrest. Still photos didn’t quite meet expectations changed channel to ABC

    Comment by Ce Ryan – February 26, 2012 06:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Perhaps this once it’s fortunate that North Korea bans shows like this (at least I assume they do). Yes we Westerners think he was a tyrant-but his people don’t and a joke like this is why Americans are hated in so many countries.

    Comment by Sonja – February 26, 2012 06:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You think his people loved him? Do you really believe they enjoy being abused and starving to death? wasn’t it obvious to you that all the videos of people crying were fake?

      Comment by A. rc – February 27, 2012 02:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I Agree with Lino. The series is tired and he should know when to give up. I would have reacted just like Ryan. I would have made him pay for dry cleaning at least!

    Comment by Alana – February 26, 2012 07:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seacrest is definitely a good sport and Cohen made a fool of himself. Seacrest started out dressed to the nines in his expensive tuxedo and ended up looking like a clown – but it was Cohen who was the loser. he even covered Seacrest’s shoes and socks. He probably went home in his bare feet.

    Comment by Tim – February 26, 2012 08:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wouldn’t say Seacrest was a good sport about the stunt, but he was professional. He didn’t let himself get too worked up about it on camera, and I think in hindsight he’ll find the humor in the situation. Cohen was out of line and just came off as desperate to promote his sure-to-be-a-bomb movie.
    Also, kudos for the work “kerfuffle.”

    Comment by TM – February 26, 2012 08:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought he was asked not to come dressed as the character? I found it disrespectful to the event and I didn’t find it funny. Not a big fan of Seacrest in the past but he’s the winner in this round IMO.

    Comment by SaRa – February 26, 2012 09:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No, they relented. It was announced ahead of time he planned on coming in character for the red carpet.

      Comment by Tee – February 27, 2012 06:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Academy Awards is not the event to pull something childish like this. SBC needs to realize that the Oscars are not a place to promote a movie/character like this. The event is a classy Hollywood celebration of the year’s cinema excellence. Not a place to dress like a freak and act like an idiot.
    Next time do this stunt at the MTV movie awards. No one who cares about the Academy Awards gives a crap about those. And dump the crap all over Snooki.

    Comment by Lynne – February 26, 2012 09:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Then maybe the Oscars shouldn’t have ALLOWED him to do it. They made the decision.

      Comment by Jeff – February 27, 2012 06:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • SBC is an idiot who just wants attention. his gimmicks are tired and so is his “comedy”, if u can call it that. And his movies suck. if they were any good he wouldn’t have to resort to stupid stunts for publicity. SBC is lucky Seacrest is a professional. Academy shoulda banned SBC and perhaps they will next year.

    Comment by jana – February 26, 2012 09:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • SBC ruins everything. The only bad thing about Hugo was his character :(

    Comment by Jo – February 26, 2012 09:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Good luck Sasha, if you thought you were persona non gratta before, let’s see how you handle being black-balled heretofore.

    Comment by lame – February 26, 2012 10:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I did not see the stunt but thought it was pretty funny (and Rancic was right – Cohen could have chosen any other entertianment “journalist”). Funny – I saw the trailer for Cohen’s movie and the audience (myself included) was cracking up. My husband – who is very picky about comedic films (and hates 95% of sitcoms on TV — was also laughing out loud.

    Comment by Snsetblaze – February 26, 2012 10:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t funny, and one of the main reasons I won’t bother with the “Les Misérables” movie.
    Though I’m not crazy about much of the casting, I was thinking about giving it a shot, if only out of curiosity – but then they gave this clown the role of M. Thénardier…… :(

    Comment by RvE – February 27, 2012 12:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think a lot of gay viewers just hate Cohen because of his “homophobic” movies and are now taking it out on him…
    Now, did I find it funny? No. Do I find Oscars boring and cliché every year? Yes.

    Comment by yippity – February 27, 2012 01:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • What? Who thinks it’s homophobic? The main point behind the end of Bruno was pointing out homophobic and disgusting a portion of America is, not SBC himself.

      Comment by Jeff – February 27, 2012 06:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • His representation of gay people throughout the whole movie was as ridiculous and dumb people, so it can be considered homophobic. I don’t personally care (since I’m not gay), I just think that a lot of people are pissed off because of that and they are now bashing SBC.

        Comment by yippity – February 27, 2012 07:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sacha Baron Cohen joke is tired and stupid, he needs to go away. Hasn’t been funny since the Ali G show.

    Comment by Leo – February 27, 2012 06:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This was no different than when he was rubbing his ass on Eminem when he was playing Bruno. SBC is wearing out his welcome pretty fast.

    Comment by Yolanda – February 27, 2012 07:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think America tend to not like SBC, because nobody – and I mean nobody – is allowed to insult your country, unless they’re from your country. Borat had the people that SBC was supposed to annoy chosen really well and it made the US live up to the stereotypes it holds.
    But this is what he does, and whether you find it funny or not, you respect other people’s opinions. Because other people do find it funny BECAUSE he’s so outrageous. Cohen gets the reaction he wants from the USA and that reaction is how he makes his career.

    Comment by liddad – February 27, 2012 08:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m Canadian and I don’t him funny, and I don’t think he’s getting the reaction that he wants. People aren’t thinking “OH MY GOD that was so crazy! I wonder what he will do next!” Most people seem to be saying “That wasn’t funny. Moving on..”

      Comment by Mandy – February 27, 2012 08:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very silly and not funny.

    Comment by LaurenMC – February 27, 2012 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was stupid. I’m not a fan of Seacrest or Cohen, but I thought this “prank” was lame. I think Seacrest handled it well – I would have been pissed at the two other women (don’t even know their names) for pushing it when he clearly wanted to go to commercial.
    Overall, just awkward and unfunny. Not sure what it was trying to promote but I won’t be seeing whatever it is.

    Comment by Mandy – February 27, 2012 08:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Should have been glitter.
    Homage the Globe Trotters water bucket gag.

    Comment by John – February 27, 2012 09:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would go so far as to say this was entirely set up. Ryan actually PUSHED into the contents pouring out of the urn. I think he played it perfectly, but I had no doubt this was pre-arraigned

    Comment by Lizzie – February 27, 2012 10:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree – the socks line had me rolling and then when he dump lil kim all over Ryan – hilarious – Ryan was pissed but the upside Ryan will be part of Oscar history forever – More Sacha Baron Cohen

      Comment by Pete Best – February 27, 2012 10:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

Leave a Reply

Comments on TVLine.com are monitored. So don't go off topic, don't frakkin' curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s