Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and the Oscars - buddies tease

Oscar hosts Martin and Baldwin provide buddy role models

Posted Mar 08, 2010

How funny were Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as a pair of buddies at the Oscars Sunday night? They covered many of the bases that are seen between male friends (especially teasing) and pushed some limits on others. There was good natured teasing from the opening -

Baldwin: "Welcome to Steve Martin - movie star, musician, author, comedian, playwright."

Martin: "Welcome to Alec Baldwin."

Then there was the riff on the power/attractiveness of George Clooney who they longed to be like; then there was the riff on sharing a bed and rolling around in their sleep on top of each other; then there were more put-downs, etc. It was the return of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (whose pictures framed the opening.)  Male buddies will make fun of each other, tease each other, and compete with each other about appearance.  Can you imagine two women pulling off the same putdowns? I don't think so - they would be supportive of each other and join together to put down an "other" for laughs. Martin and Baldwin had each other. Did Martin and Baldwin fulfill even the basic definitions of friendship - loyalty, dependability, trust, and understanding of the other? Did they have each other's back? Were they understanding of each other? No - and neither did Crosby and Hope.  And that is why both duos were funny. Martin and Baldwin were only together in their jealousy of Clooney. What a refreshing moment in their catalog of male bonding/friendship experiences!

While they provided humor, they also provided permission for other men to poke fun at themselves and at their jealousy for one of the most attractive men on earth (Clooney).  This was not one-time Oscar host Johnny Carson poking fun at others and rarely at himself.  This was self-deprecating humor as well as teasing of a pal. What can be learned from this is that men, like many of the other stars on stage that night (e.g. Ben Stiller), do not always have to be tough, serious, and macho. And they can be attractive will pursuing a wider range of behaviors. And, we know from research, that men often tease each other as a way of showing affection and being close to another man.  Showing affection without teasing can be difficult for some men so good natured teasing becomes a sign of affection, e.g., "you couldn't sink that basket/putt if your life depended on it."  Obviously, when teasing hits below the belt it is angry behavior, but on Oscar night's case, it was all for laughs.  It would be nice to carry more options forward for how we men can behave - Martin and Baldwin provided re-enforcement of one tried and true way.