The 72nd Academy Awards took place on March 26, 2000 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. And as per tradition, audiences were treated to live performances of the year’s Best Original Song nominees.
Although Phil Collins went on to win for You’ll Be In My Heart from Tarzan, the song garnering the most attention that night was far less conventional Oscar fare: Blame Canada from South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut. The man tapped to provide lead vocals: comedy legend Robin Williams.
Blame Canada — which satirized scapegoating and overzealous censorship — courted controversy due to the fact it contained the line, “But now when I see him he tells me to f**k myself.”;
To ease the Academy’s concerns, the South Park creators had Robin gleefully perform the song with a chorus of women dressed as Canadian Mounties. When the line in question was to be sung, Robin turned his back to the audience, allowing shocked gasps from the chorus to cover up the offending word.
As you can see from the video below, Robin was clearly the perfect man for the job: equal parts showman and rabble-rouser. And despite its political incorrectness, Blame Canada was far from anti-Canadian. These final lines hit the point home nicely:
Blame Canada! Shame on Canada for…
The smut we must cut
The trash we must bash
The laughter and fun must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming us!