If you’d assumed that hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin had their leashes yanked by the Oscars telecast overlords, all off-color jokes not concerned with the large contingent of Jewish people in Hollywood scoured from the TelePrompTers, well, you would only be half-right. “They wanted us to do a lot more,” Baldwin told us when we saw him last night at the spring gala for the New York Philharmonic. “We had a script that was a much longer script for us. We were more involved. So he and I, I think we were very clever, or we were very wise, I should say, to cut it down. Less of us was better, so you could really get on with the films and honoring the people that are there to be honored.”
Baldwin might have been happy to cede a chunk of the spotlight — “we cut ourselves out of it by half,” he explained — but if it weren’t for those overlords, the broadcast might have gone a bit differently. “There were a lot of good jokes we had in there that they wanted to tone down,” Baldwin said. “We had a lot of really kind of saltier lines that they wound up cutting.” Such as? “We were going to come out and say, ‘The Oscars. Warmer than the Olympics. Not as gay as the Tonys.’” Surely that line could have filled a couple of the beats later spent glaring at George Clooney, right?