A word in your ear - March 1, 2012

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SOME people just can’t take a joke. Take Ryan Seacrest and Donald Trump.

I mean, who can’t see the funny side when a British comedian –dressed as a cross between Gaddafi and an Armish Benny Hill – pours what he purports to be the ashes of ex-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il down the front of the host of American Idol?

But no, the US-based commentators at Sunday’s Oscars all wore a look I last spied on the face of my mother-in-law right about the time I suggested she call her new dog Clampet.

She decided against using my pet name for her family and instead opted for the far safer Holly, which is nice, but not nearly as funny.

If only there was something as innocent as a puppy at the Oscars to help ease the pre-show mood after Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest red carpet stunt caused some serious ructions.

In the lead up to the event, there was a well orchestrated game of cat-and-mouse going on in the US media over whether the Ali G and Borat star would actually be allowed anywhere near the red carpet. Of course he was always going to be, the producers know Baron Cohen creates must-see TV.

You ask him to your party and it’s like inviting an excitable puppy – he’s ready to disgrace himself on the posh carpet and wait for the crowd to tickle his tummy. And he did not disappoint. Arriving wearing a bushy beard and joke shop dictator’s military uniform – presumably to big up his new film cunningly-titled The Dictator – he played the waiting press pack beautifully.

He did not respond to their cries of “Sacha, Sacha”, instead talking to the two stunning models alongside him.

Only when photographers began barking “Dictator, Dictator look this way” and “hey security back off and let the Dictator come through” did he turn and smile. It was a beautiful comedy moment.

Then came the turn of Seacrest, the rather self-assured guy who fronts American Idol and is the Ant and Dec of American TV without the Ant, or the comedy timing.

Cue Baron Cohen to tip an urn of what he claimed was Kim Jong-il’s ashes (actually Bisquik pancake mix) all down Seacrest’s dinner jacket.

The rage across Seacrest’s face was undeniable, especially when Baron Cohen told him when asked “what are you wearing this year – say I’m wearing Kim Jong-il.”

“He was either going to do that to me or George Clooney, right?” said Seacrest later, without any hint of sarcasm or over-inflated ego awareness.

Trump was a little more cutting, claiming had there been “real security”, Baron Cohen “would have been punched in the face so many times he wouldn’t have known what happened.”

Given Seacrest and Trump’s knee-jerk reactions – and the 50 million watching on TV – I guess Baron Cohen has ticked a couple of boxes, namely ones marked “create a reaction” and “plug my movie”.

You’ve got to hand it to the guy, whether you like him or loathe him, he understands this business ain’t called ‘show’ for nothing.

I just wish others would get it a little quicker, hey Mr Trump?