POLL: Did Sacha Baron Cohen's Oscars Stunt Go Too Far?

Funny or faux pas? The ever-impeccably dressed Ryan Seacrest was a "victim of comedy" as The Dictator mussed up his red-carpet look

"The greatest thing about Live from the Red Carpet is the live part, right?" Ryan Seacrest declared Sunday night. "Because every year there's something."

This year, it happened to be the "ashes" of a dead North Korean leader all over his Burberry tux. While hosting E!'s Oscars pre-show, Seacrest interviewed Sacha Baron Cohen, who was dressed as Admiral-General Aladeen, his character in the upcoming movie The Dictator. Click here to see Cohen-as-Aladeen "accidentally" dump the ashes of his "dear friend and doubles tennis partner" Kim Jong-Il all over Seacrest: 

"It's OK for you," Cohen joked, as two burly security guards hustled him away. "Now if someone asks you what you are wearing, you will say Kim Jong-Il!"

Though Seacrest, who was jokingly called a "victim of comedy" by Tina Fey, was clearly unamused, he was a good sport. "Do you know how lucky you are?" cracked his co-host, Giuliana Rancic. "You are the one chosen on the red carpet!” Seacrest smirked, but good-naturedly griped, "Is this a vision of luck?"

Immediately after the incident, he made a point of tweeting a message to his fans that demonstrated his ability to take a joke. "My mom always told me to pack two jackets for red carpets, always wondered why," he wrote. "Now I know."

And later, while talking to Rancic and Kelly Osbourne, Seacrest explained that he'd been wary about that particular red-carpet encounter. "In the back of my mind, I thought, 'OK there's no way that a conversation with him in character is going to go as planned, so there's going to be something.' Didn't quite know what. As we were talking, I could just feel that something was about to happen, and then sure enough it did."

The ability to remain unflappable is an essential trait of any TV host, and Seacrest knows this better than anyone. After years of live radio and various awards shows -- not to mention 11 seasons hosting American Idol -- Seacrest has had plenty of opportunities to hone that skill. This is a guy who didn't miss a beat last week when Heejun Han delivered the greatest deadpan line in American Idol history:

Seacrest: "What are you sweating?"

Han: "Mostly water."

Of course some will say that Cohen's prank was inappropriate. Seacrest's fellow E! host Joel McHale isn't one of them, though. "As long as no one was injured. No one was injured, right?" McHale told MTV News. "I thought it was really funny. Sacha Baron Cohen is genius."

Do you agree with McHale or think the prank was uncalled for? Vote now! 


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