Neil Patrick Harris has hosted every awards show imaginable, but sometimes not even he can help it when a joke falls flat. The performer had a couple of high moments (that opener!), but other times the risks he took just didn’t pan out. One in particular found the How I Met Your Mother alum joking about producer Dana Perry’s outfit just moments after she spoke about her son’s suicide during her acceptance speech.
Perry accepted the award for Best Documentary Short Subject for Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 with Ellen Goosenberg Kent, and spoke emotionally about her late son Evan, who committed suicide in 2005. “We should talk about suicide out loud,” she said.
Moments after Perry left the stage, Harris made an ill-timed joke about her black dress, which was detailed with fuzzy black balls. “It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that,” he quipped. The sartorial joke, however, didn’t exactly land with the star-studded audience.
Check out four other failed jokes below:
1. Predictions Box
Longtime amateur magician Harris, 41, had a long-running bit with Oscar winner Octavia Spencer that got quite boring. He asked the Red Band Society actress to “watch” an envelope placed in a glass box for the duration of the show. He seemingly redeemed himself though when the “predictions” list included some of his fails from the night, including when he flubbed Chiwetel Ejiofor’s name.
2. Undies Time!
Harris shocked the A-listers when he strolled out on stage in his white, noticeably stuffed underwear — and nothing else. The bit — even with Harris’ impressive bod — poked fun of Michael Keaton’s Birdman role, but came off a bit awkward.
3. American Sniper Joke
The actor received some flack on social media when he joked about the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who Bradley Cooper portrayed in the Clint Eastwood-directed drama. Harris joked that Kyle’s “160 confirmed kills” was like “a slow morning” for Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein. Kyle’s wife Taya was in the audience at the time.
4. Reese Witherspoon’s Spoon
Harris’ one-liner about the Wild actress didn’t receive a laugh-out-loud response from the crowd. “This Oscar presenter is so lovely you could eat her up — with her spoon,” he said.
The Tony Award winner did have better moments though. Harris received a round of applause when he kicked off the show with a stellar performance. He belted out an original musical number penned by Frozen’s songwriting team and was joined by Jack Black and Anna Kendrick. Another great moment? When he joked that Benedict Cumberbatch is the name John Travolta would say if he was trying to pronounce Ben Affleck, referring to Travolta’s 2014 “Adele “Dazeem” blunder.
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