Oscar fiasco #3.

Time: April 2, 1974, the 46th annual Academy Awards
Fiasco: Co-host David Niven (the others were John Huston, Burt Reynolds and Diana Ross—a veritable fiasco-in-numbers!) is making an introduction when a streaker dashes across the stage and disappears into the wings. Niven then delivers what is called the most famous ad-lib in Oscar history: "Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off his clothes and showing his shortcomings?" The ad-lib is so good that some people think the whole thing is staged, and the Academy's decision to clothe the streaker and bring him to the press area only adds to the controversy. Producer Jack Haley, Jr. denies the whole thing was planned, and, even if it were, David Niven would still be funnier than Bob Hope. The streaker, Robert Opal, tries to become a stand-up comedian in the years following his performance but only manages to get murdered in a San Francisco sex shop. Robert Opal? Ultimately funnier than Bob Hope. Fiasco? Lukewarm to middling, though had Diana Ross been involved, the potential for full-out fiasco would have been much higher.

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