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The 20 Funniest Awards Show Speeches Of All Time

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    awards show speeches
    Sacha Baron Cohen: Bob Long/HFPA via Getty Images.
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
    Amy Poehler: Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

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    If you're a true awards-show fan, you can watch these things from start to finish, appreciating every obscure statuette handed out and every thank you to producers, agents, managers, childhood teachers, and moms. The rest of us simply tolerate those lovely moments of gratitude in hopes that something more entertaining will eventually take place. Sometimes, this takes the form of tearjerking speeches honoring all who paved the way to some lucky winner's achievement. Other times, the folks receiving the accolades will take their moment onstage to make us fall out of our seats with laughter.

    Before we brace ourselves for a lot of self-important Hollywood types thanking each other at the Oscars, we're taking this moment to thank the folks who have tossed off the veil of reverence and gravitas. We've loved watching spontaneous joy turn into hilarity with the likes of Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, and Roberto Benigni. But just as funny are the ways actors like Amy Poehler, Anna Kendrick, Jim Carrey, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus planned bits in case they won. What's equally impressive is that no one seems ungrateful as they infuse their acceptance speeches with humor. They're just doing a great job of reminding us that they're not accepting Nobel Peace Prizes up there.


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    Art Garfunkel (for Olivia Newton-John), Record of the Year Grammy, 1975

    Taylor Swift and Kanye West weren't the first artists to air their grievances at the Grammys. In 1975, Olivia Newton-John's "I Honestly Love You" somehow beat out the likes of Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Making Love," and Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" for Record of the Year — but she wasn't there to accept the award.

    It was presented by the strange trio of Paul Simon, John Lennon, and Andy Williams, all making fun of their respective splits from bandmates (and in Williams' case, his spouse). In a bit of engineered awkwardness, Art Garfunkel came up to accept on Newton-John's behalf. "I thought I told you to wait in the car," Simon told his former partner, who struck back, "Still writing, Paul?"

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    Jack Palance, Best Supporting Actor Oscar, 1992

    "Billy Crystal, I crap bigger than him," the City Slickers star began, echoing a famous brag from the movie. Then, the 73-year-old former boxer, college football player, and Air Force vet proceeded to demonstrate his one-handed push-ups, proving it was silly for casting directors to doubt that a man of his age can still work in movies. Then, apropos of nothing, he turned it into a double entendre.

    "As far as the two-handed push-ups are concerned, you can do that all night and it doesn't make any difference whether she's there or not." Good for you, dude.

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    Robin Williams, Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical Golden Globe, 1992

    Despite seeming genuinely moved by the honor for his role in The Fisher King, Williams delivered one of his wild, improvisational speeches that veers from impressions of George Bush and director Terry Gilliam to random Silence of the Lambs references to bursts of real gratitude for a lot of people. Try not to cry while you're laughing at this.

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    Michael Jackson, Grammy Legend Award, 1993

    "Funny" isn't the first adjective you think of when you think of Michael Jackson. And maybe this line was scripted for him ahead of time, but still, it's refreshing to see the King of Pop have a sense of humor about the nonstop gossip that followed him for his entire life. Embracing his baby sister, who'd just presented a tribute to him, Jackson grinned and said, "I hope this finally puts to rest another rumor that's been in the press for too many years. Me and Janet really are two different people."

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    Emma Thompson, Best Adapted Screenplay Golden Globe, 1996

    Thompson declared that above all others, she really owed Sense and Sensibility author Jane Austen the most for her win. To honor her, Thompson read her fan-fic version of an Austen diary entry after attending the "Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise, and overcrowding, was not without its pleasures...The gowns were middling." Austen fans will find this hilarious; there's no hope for the rest of you.