Harris begins by informing viewers that Broadway is “not just for gays anymore”
Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 65th Annual Tony Awards with typical wit and verve, starting with a catchy song informing CBS viewers that Broadway is "not just for gays anymore" and ending with a rapped wrap-up that was legen-dary.
The opening song, featuring Broadway fixtures ranging from the flight attendants of "Catch Me If You Can" to the missionaries of "The Book of Mormon," explained that theater is also for "foreign tourists and the groups of senior citizens and well-to-do suburbanites and liberal intellectuals — well, that group is really only Jews and homosexuals."
Here are the best of Harris' many good lines, followed by video of the closing number:
"Good evening. I'm teen heartthrob Neil Patrick Harris."
"Brooke Shields! You're super hot! You made me think I was straight for like 23 years!"
"Al Pacino! You're way to famous to participate in this bit."
"You should see backstage. Backstage is madness. I just had to stop Daniel Radcliffe from poking out the War Horse's eyes." (He later explained: "Equus?")
An hour into the show, Harris promised he wouldn't spend the whole night doing "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" jokes, because "it's too easy. It's expected." But he did put 30 seconds on the clock to knock out as many as he could. Bono and The Edge, who wrote the music, looked on amicably. Here are the jokes Harris squeezed in:
"Pretty soon they'll be turning the name to 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Lawsuits.'"
"'Spider-Man': The only show that warns you about strobelights and falling actors."
"No audience members were harmed in the making of this musical — yet."
"The only thing not falling over at 'Spider-Man' are the ticket prices."
"Julie Taymor knew it was over when she woke up and found the head of 'War Horse' in her bed."
"'Spider-Man' is the only show in Broadway where the actors in the cast are actually in casts."
Harris added, after time had run out: "I sent Bono a congratulatory cable, but it snapped."
Then he returned to the non-"Spider-Man" digs:
"Wow, Beacon joke." (In response to Hugh Jackman saying he wasn't hosting this year because, "I only play the big rooms." Let us explain.)
"Backstage it's mental. I saw the casts of 'Sister Act' and 'Book of Mormon' get in a fistfight. I was like, 'Oh, my Gods.'"
The closing rap, meanwhile, really needs to be seen to be appreciated: