Oscars Producers Scramble To Replace Injured Host
Los Angeles (AP) Producers for Sunday's Academy Awards telecast have had to find a new host at the last minute, after Seth McFarlane was admitted to hospital. McFarlane, the creator of television tripe such as Family Guy and the host of this year's ceremony, was appearing at a press conference, speaking to an assembly of reporters. The group of mostly entertainment reporters included this reporter, who is being punished by his editor in chief in the only way his ironclad contract can allow: by being given pointless assignments like covering the Oscars. Complete aside: this reporter still stands by his word: your son is a spoiled brat, Ms. Fenton.
McFarlane was basking in the glow of attention from reporters at a hotel near the auditorium where last minute preparations for the ceremonies are being handled. He had been spending an hour talking about just how funny he is. In the opinion of this reporter, McFarlane isn't nearly as funny as he thinks. "You know, it astonishes me every single day just how brilliant I really am," McFarlane proclaimed. "I've struck it big in television, and everyone I meet tells me just how great I am. Granted, they are paid to say that. Now I'm going to parlay that into film. Sooner or later, you won't be able to go anywhere without running into the influence and characters of Seth McFarlane. Won't that be a perfect world?"
This reporter would consider that to be a rough approximation of the seventh circle of Hell. When asked to stop talking about himself, and to start talking about hosting the ceremonies, McFarlane nodded. "Yes, well, I can't promise to be on my best behaviour. I've got a pretty vulgar mouth, as you all know, and a tendency to speak before I think. I imagine a lot of those network censors all over the world are going to be anxious all evening long, but really, if you can't take a joke, why are you in the room? I hear Jane Fonda is going to be there making a bitter diatribe, so I've got a Family Guy skit standing by to make fun of her that'll be like that Aristocrats standup joke, only a trillion times more offensive. And I'm planning on heckling Tommy Lee Jones all evening long. What's he going to do? Hit me? I think I can take him. Oh, and I'll have the entire cast of Les Miserables arrested by French militiamen and marched out of the auditorium. And look forward to my entrance. I'm planning on walking in dressed just like John Wilkes Booth. I'm sure Daniel Day-Lewis won't mind that at all."
McFarlane seemed to be looking beyond the crowd of reporters as he halted in midspeech. This reporter glanced back, and saw someone familiar, passing through a corridor nearby. It was the legendary Mountie, RCMP Inspector Lars Ulrich, looking grouchy. That was to be expected, of course. He was in the city with the highest ratio of entertainment reporters in the world, no doubt his own personal vision of Hell. Word on the street had it that Ulrich had come down to Los Angeles to retrieve a fugitive arrested by the LAPD, a fugitive tied to the massive Canadian maple syrup heist from last year. He hadn't been sighted by reporters, however. The Mountie, who has a sterling reputation for saving the world from archvillains and a habit of beating up entertainment reporters, seemed to be in a hurry to leave.
McFarlane spoke up suddenly. "Hey, you! Wait!" He stepped down from the podium, wading through the crowd of reporters, who started to rise to follow him. McFarlane intercepted Ulrich outside the press conference, calling, "I know you! You're Lars Ulrich!"
A murmur of excitement rose up among the reporters, most of them entertainment reporters. Those of us who consider ourselves real reporters knew better than to antagonize the Inspector. McFarlane wrapped an arm around the Inspector, seemingly oblivious to the hostile glare in the Mountie's eyes. "It's great to meet you. We should really work together." McFarlane flashed that big stupid grin, while photographers took pictures of the pair.
Inspector Ulrich looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but here. "Am I supposed to know who you are?" he asked in a low, growling voice.
McFarlane laughed. "Lars, you're such a kidder! Seriously though, everyone knows who I am. Seth McFarlane, funniest man alive. Creator of Family Guy. Of course you know who I am. Listen, I'm hosting the..."
Ulrich rolled his eyes. "Oh, that... cartoon," he muttered, his voice dripping with contempt. He seemed to be looking at McFarlane in a way that suggested he was considering how to knock out every single tooth in McFarlane's mouth in the timeliest fashion possible. "You do realize you're not funny?"
McFarlane laughed again, clapping the Inspector on the shoulder. "This guy! Am I right, people? Such a kidder! Listen, I'm hosting the Oscars this Sunday. Do you think you and the rest of Metallica can come play at the ceremony?"
Ulrich was silent for a moment. Then, in the lowest, most hostile tone this reporter had ever heard in a human voice, he told McFarlane, "I am not that Lars Ulrich, you brainless buffoon."
McFarlane appeared confused, a common trait for the man. In the opinion of this reporter, Seth McFarlane isn't all that bright. "Are you sure?" he asked the Inspector after a long moment. Within five seconds, McFarlane was on the run of his life, being chased by a very angry Mountie out of the hotel and into the streets of Beverly Hills, screaming like a little girl.
When he was finally found, late that night, McFarlane was unconcious at the base of the Hollywood sign, battered and beaten. He's been hospitalized, and doctors are saying he'll be eating his meals from a straw for the next six months, with physical therapy for the next three years. They describe his condition as stable but annoying.
Producers of Family Guy and American Dad have announced the shows will be going on indefinite hiatus, as McFarlane is so crucial to continued production. When asked at the White House, the President shrugged. "You know, I've never found that guy funny. He's really rather tedious."
In a rare display of bipartisan agreement, the Speaker of the House remarked, "Good riddance to him. He had it coming."
Producers are calling in the big guns to save the Oscars at the last minute. Frequent host Billy Crystal has stepped in to take the hosting gig. He told reporters, "I figured McFarlane would just blow the whole thing, and make Letterman's hosting gig look wonderful in comparison. I didn't figure he wouldn't make it to the ceremony though. I'm glad to help. And just for the record, I'm smart enough not to mistake a cranky Mountie for a heavy metal musician."
As for Inspector Ulrich, he's back on his way to Canada, taking the errant maple syrup stealing fugitive with him. When reached at the airport, he was dragging the fugitive by the scruff of the collar toward the departure gate. He growled at a group of cautious reporters, including this one. "If you idiots ask me one question about Metallica, I'm taking you on board that plane and throwing you out when we reach altitude."
This reporter and his colleagues decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and left the Inspector to leave in peace. This reporter has learned three vital life lessons down through the years. First, never play poker with someone named Doc. Second, keep your distance from anyone who likes saying, "what's the worst that can happen?" And last... never annoy a grouchy Mountie who hates reporters.