4 Times Comedy Red Carpet Premieres Went Off the Rails
Movie premieres are usually very lavish events, full of high-profile guests, red carpet fashions and free hors d’oeuvres that typically end up in the Ziploc bag-lined pockets of any and all writers attending the screening. But for some reason, premieres of comedy movies aren’t always quite so dignified. They can get pretty weird and occasionally fall apart faster than a space suit made of Kraft cheese singles. Some of the more unhinged stories include…
‘Borat’: The Projector Broke Down, and Not Even Michael Moore Could Fix It
2006’s Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival alongside movies like The Fountain and Babel. But unlike those films, its star, Sacha Baron Cohen, arrived at the theater in character, aboard a wagon pulled by “peasant women.”
Unfortunately, after the film had been on for only 20 minutes, the projector broke down. Team America: World Police star Michael Moore even pitched in and tried to help, telling the crowd, “I used to do this for a living.” Cohen tried to kill time by answering questions from the audience, all while still in character as Borat, as employees scrambled to “steal” a replacement part from another theater’s projector. Eventually, the screening was straight-up canceled, presumably the result of prayers made by every real-life person who unwittingly appeared in Borat.
‘Bee Movie’: Jerry Seinfeld Somehow Thought Ziplining in a Bee Costume at Cannes Was a Good Idea
There’s probably no good way to promote Bee Movie, a CGI-animated love story about a human woman hooking up with a literal insect. However, Jerry Seinfeld’s approach at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 was still surprisingly bizarre. Instead of just slapping up some posters and doing some interviews, Seinfeld hyped the premiere of his new cartoon, which, again, was at the Cannes Film Festival, by donning a bumblebee costume and ziplining off of the roof of an eight-story luxury hotel, all to the dulcet sounds of Chris Rock yelling.
Shortly before taking the plunge, apparently attempting to salvage any bit of dignity, Seinfeld told reporters, “You know, one thing I hate is any kind of movie promotion that smacks of desperation in any way.” Seemingly, this stunt was a reference to the film’s teaser trailer, in which Seinfeld similarly wore a bee costume and performed some eighth-grade production of Peter Pan-tier wirework, all under the direction of Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg.
In retrospect, who amongst us wouldn’t have preferred the live-action version of Bee Movie with Seinfeld performing Mission: Impossible-esque stunts while dressed as the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot? At the very least, it would have made the film’s central sexual dynamic a tad less brain-warping.
‘Blazing Saddles’: Premiered to an Audience of Horses
Mel Brooks’ Western farce Blazing Saddles is one of the most famous comedies in history, yet it premiered for an audience of both people and horses. Yes, back in 1974, the world premiere took place at the Pickwick Drive-In, with guests only being allowed admittance if they were on horseback. Even some of the film’s stars showed up atop a faithful steed. The studio set up a special “Horsepitality Bar” to serve guests “Horse d’oeuvres” (which was hopefully just a pun).
While Brooks raved about the wild publicity stunt, which was staged just one day before the film opened, it wasn’t without a horseload of problems. While saddles were equipped with speakers to play the film’s audio, around 20 horses took off with the speakers still attached. No word on if they stumbled onto the set of a musical.
‘Jackass Number Two’: Steve-O Pissed All Over the Red Carpet
Okay, perhaps it was naive to expect that the premiere of a Jackass movie wouldn’t devolve into full-blown anarchy, but the red carpet event for Jackass Number Two featured decidedly more bodily fluid spillage than most. When Steve-O showed up at the screening, held at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, he “shocked spectators” by pulling out his wee man and pissing on the red carpet.
This wasn’t just another wacky Jackass prank; it was really motivated by Steve-O’s fear and insecurity. He later said of the premiere, “I felt like I was at my own funeral. I was convinced there would be no more movies. Nothing was ever going to be that big of a deal. I was so afraid of the rest of my life. Peeing on the red carpet had a lot to do with that.”
The silver lining here is that unabashedly whizzing at a formal event “in front of his family” was one of the public embarrassments that motivated Steve-O to seek help and get sober — and as far as we know, it’s the only time that a star has relieved themselves on the red carpet at the premiere of a movie that isn’t part of the Beethoven franchise.
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