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In Today’s Blue People News, Neil Patrick Harris and a Sketch Interrupted

March 4, 2010

Courtesy of New York Magazine, two interesting news items about…blue people?

1. Neil Patrick Harris has signed on to star in the upcoming Smurfs movie, set to begin filming in April. The film will combine live action and animation, and Harris will play the leading human, live action character. Not much else to report or comment on here, except that NPH is cool and may rescue the Smurfs movie from joining its “80s nostalgia film” cohorts on numerous “offensively stupid films of the last few years” lists.

2. Sacha Baron Cohen, who’s much prettier than Amy Winehouse, was all set to star as a naked, preggers Avatar character in an Oscar ceremony skit. That was until the bit was scrapped out of deference to James Cameron’s thin skin to make sure Daddy Warbuck$ didn’t walk out of the room. But there seem to be conflicting reports, as it’s now coming out that Cameron was told about the possible sketch and said he wouldn’t have a problem with it. Of course, the final outcome—will they or won’t they?—remains to be seen on Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

Cheers to the New York mag for breaking the story, but it’s a shame that the full premise of the proposed sketch has now been made public. Most of Baron Cohen’s comedic success results from the element of surprise and his unapologetic boldness. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the few comedians that is capable of saying and doing things that no one could have begun to expect. He’s like a one-man variable in a giant social experiment that only he knows is occurring—put him around people (celebrities and “regular folks” alike), turn on one of his many character switches, and observe. How people respond can reveal quite a bit about them and their character strengths and/or deficiencies.

But now, if Cohen, his partner in crime Ben Stiller, and the Oscar producers do the sketch, it will still be pretty funny, sure. They might even change it up a bit now that many details have come to light. Regardless, Cameron (and everybody else) will know SOMETHING is coming, and if it all goes down as predicted, Cameron will have an ample opportunity to play “the cool guy who can laugh at himself,” in a way he never could have prepared for otherwise.

So, even if we get to see Cohen with turquoise hooters, whatever happens now might well seem like a lost opportunity.

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