Another from the collection that an article (which alas I can no longer find) put together of some classic comic moments from Oscarcasts over the years. This is from Oscar 2000 (the 72nd, for those of your keeping count), with Robin Williams giving an enthusiastic performance of the Best Song nominee, "Blame Canada," from The South Park Movie. They put together a solid production of it, too, doing their best to recreate somewhat the sense of watching an animated film. At the time, the Big Question was how would they handle the "unapproved" language in one of the lines. It was done reasonably deftly, with Williams turning to the chorus, and them singing over him.
A few years back in my PR days, I was the unit publicist on BASEketball, from David Zucker, which starred Trey Parker and Matt Stone at the height of South Park becoming a phenomenon. The movie didn't work -- it should never have been R-rated, something David acknowledged later to me -- but much of it is very funny, and it actually works best on regular TV, when the R-rated stuff has to get cut out. And it was one of my favorite experiences working on a movie set.
Anyway, the point of this is that before the filming began, a small event was held to go through some of the script with friends and family. During a break, I introduced myself to Trey. We kept getting interrupted by little kids who'd just seen the South Park Christmas Special that had aired a week or two before, and they were all so excited by the "Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo" song. (If you don't know it, the lyrics are basically the title of the song repeated over and over and over. It's more than that, but that's the core.) Finally, when we were alone again, I said, "I have to tell you, I know that they all seem to love that "Christmas Poo" song, but for me, the really great number in the show was "It's Hard to Do a Jew at Christmas." I didn't know how he'd react -- since after all, I was praising a song that wasn't the Big Hit, and also, we'd just met. But happily, he gave me a huge look of relief and said, "I know!!"
(By the way, there are some another Best Song nominee I've been trying to track down for years, but with no luck, that would easily make my list of Oscar's Funniest Moments. That would be for the 38th Oscars when the wonderful "Ballad of Cat Ballou" got nominated, and it was performed hysterically and perfectly in the spirit of the song (as memory serves) by the Smothers Brothers. One day, it is my fond how to find a video of that.)
Until then, we'll make do with "Blame Canada."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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