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

“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 are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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100 Comments
  1. Lino says:

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

    • af says:

      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.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Not even a little funny. Kudos to Seacrest for his poise. I would have decked “the dictator.”

  3. Jen R. says:

    It was just a silly “dusty” prank! Made funnier because Ryan whined about it over and over again!

    • KevyB says:

      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.

      • Anna says:

        Actually, the people who allowed this idiot to show up should have been the recipiants.

        • KevyB says:

          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.

  4. LOL says:

    Seacrest will benefit. People will talk about it all day tomorrow.

  5. Rachel says:

    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.

    • chistosa says:

      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.

  6. Russ says:

    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

    • TOnya says:

      I agree – it was a stunt – and will garner both parties sufficient press about it tomorrow. Job complete.

      • Tessa says:

        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.

        • Chris says:

          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.

        • Tonya says:

          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.

  7. Gilby21 says:

    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!”

  8. Luu says:

    Way too far.

  9. Amanda says:

    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.

    • Dave says:

      “It is incredibly disrespectful to the movie he is there for – Hugo” You are so right #this

    • Josh says:

      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.

  10. Ali says:

    I hope The Soup on E! will have a field day with that one. Ryan definitely has a great sense of humor!

    • Emma says:

      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…

  11. Matt says:

    The joke was funny and Ryan took it very well. Inappropriate? Slightly. But still funny.

  12. Steve says:

    The best and ONLY excitement tonight’s awards will produce.

  13. angelstorm says:

    Baron Cohen = I’m not even remotely impressed
    Seacrest = I’m impressed

  14. Auds says:

    I wish someone could just push Cohen off the side of a very high cliff. The dude is mentally ill.

  15. Kat says:

    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.

  16. A says:

    Totally awesome!

  17. Adrienne says:

    Seriously too far. He’s not funny.

    • JohnDoe says:

      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.

      • Will says:

        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.

        • Ian says:

          “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.

      • Bec says:

        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.

        • Adrienne says:

          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.

      • Anna says:

        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.

      • chistosa says:

        Poor JohnDoe. Thinks he is intellectually superior because he finds the adolescent humor and crass inappropriate behavior of someone brilliant. Now that is funny.

      • A genius says:

        LOL he is so smart, carrying around fake ashes and pouring them on people. Those dumb plebs will never understand our humour 1!!!!

  18. nathalie says:

    it was stuppid, it was so unnesesarie , poor Ryan

  19. KatR says:

    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.

  20. BlueByU says:

    It was an extremely immature prank. Not funny at all.

  21. Lindsay says:

    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.

  22. Jim says:

    Why would anyone think this is funny? Just plain ignorant.

  23. JohnDoe says:

    “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.

    • Lindsay says:

      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.

    • Gretchen says:

      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.

  24. nickp91 says:

    Ryan Seacrest basically just got glitter-bombed by The Dictator.

  25. Lisa says:

    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.

  26. Rachael says:

    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

    • Rachael says:

      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.

      • Daniel says:

        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.

  27. Rachel says:

    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!

  28. Sally S says:

    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.

  29. imaginarytuxedo says:

    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.

  30. ryan says:

    get the stick out of your asses because that was funny

  31. Ce Ryan says:

    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

  32. Sonja says:

    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.

    • A. rc says:

      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?

  33. Alana says:

    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!

  34. Tim says:

    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.

  35. TM says:

    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.”

  36. SaRa says:

    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.

  37. Lynne says:

    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.

  38. jana says:

    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.

  39. Jo says:

    SBC ruins everything. The only bad thing about Hugo was his character :(

  40. lame says:

    Good luck Sasha, if you thought you were persona non gratta before, let’s see how you handle being black-balled heretofore.

  41. Snsetblaze says:

    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.

  42. RvE says:

    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…… :(

  43. yippity says:

    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.

    • Jeff says:

      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.

      • yippity says:

        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.

  44. Leo says:

    Sacha Baron Cohen joke is tired and stupid, he needs to go away. Hasn’t been funny since the Ali G show.

  45. Yolanda says:

    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.

  46. liddad says:

    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.

    • Mandy says:

      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..”

  47. LaurenMC says:

    Very silly and not funny.

  48. Mandy says:

    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.

  49. John says:

    Should have been glitter.
    Homage the Globe Trotters water bucket gag.

  50. Lizzie says:

    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

    • Pete Best says:

      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

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