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!