UPDATE: The full Crystal interview offers a broader context to comments, see below ...
See The good will comedian Billy Crystal built up since last hosting the Oscars eight years ago might evaporate by the time the first statuette is handed out.
Crystal, one of the only modern comics able to conquer the difficult Oscar hosting chores, returns to his perch Sunday night for the 84th annual Academy Awards telecast. The show marks the eighth time Crystal will emcee the event, a production marred by dwindling ratings and bloated running times.
But Crystal, in an interview forecasting the Sunday night telecast, evidently thinks trashing the current GOP presidential field is prime fodder for the show:
And he reveals that, while he won’t make any jokes in the show about the controversial “rehearsal’s for fags” remark that led Oscar producer Brett Ratner to step down in November (“Rehearsals are for gags,” he says, deadpan), he does intend to use this year’s heated presidential campaign as fodder for comedy: “How funny are these idiots?” he says. “There will be something that will filter into it.
There you have it. Looks like the Oscars will be another night in which Hollywood celebrities target the GOP for humor. Will Crystal lay a glove on President Barack Obama, the politician presiding over rocketing gas prices and a bumbling economy? If Crystal hits both sides, fabulous. If not, expect even more conservatives to tune out mid-show and not even bother watching in 2013.
Oscar producers can ill afford to lose even more audience members, but ideology trumps all in Tinsel Town.
UPDATE: The full Entertainment Weekly interview (print edition) lets Crystal expand on his "idiots" comment.
... but you've got a big part of the country that likes one of these guys, and you don't want to be offensive. This is a pretty passionate year for [politics] - and it's been a hard couple of years for the audience. You don't want to piss people off. You don't want them to go, "oh, here's a smart ass from Hollywood making fun of us.
It's unclear why EW.com chose to leave those comments out in the online sneak preview of the interview, hitting newsstands this weekend.