Last night Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 2013 Tony Awards and blew everyone away with a high-energy, high-entertainment, high-omgthatwassogood opening number. You’d think every headline about NPH today would be about what a god he is. So what is with this rumor that he dropped the N-word during that incredible performance? That’s right, Neil Patrick Harris is being accused of using a racial epithet. On live TV. Next to Mike Tyson. In the immortal word of Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, REALLY?!
What sparked this rumor? During the opening, Mike Tyson makes a cameo in reference to his one-man Broadway show. Here’s what some people are assuming Neil sang at this point in the number:
“In tandem like we planned ‘em, forgive me if it’s random but Mike Tyson had a one man show let’s give the man a hand. And make things bigger, like bigger. I’m here with Iron Mike Tyson he’s a heavyweight yo. We’re going bigger is ‘Is I his [n-word?].”
Really, Daily Mail?!? The N-word? That’s your story?!? I would NEVER be so disrespectful and frankly, neither should you.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) June 10, 2013
What I hear in the video, and what other people online are saying Neil sang, is “The night is bigger,” or something along those lines. Since every other word in the song was already “bigger,” it seems safe to assume that’s the word he used, rather than the N-word.
I find this entire rumor to be so ridiculous. Even if I thought I’d heard the word in question, I would immediately assume I misheard it. Because this is Neil Patrick Harris we’re talking about. Not only has he shown himself to be a respectful, compassionate human being whom I can’t imagine would ever use that word, but he’s not exactly made of controversy. Why has he hosted the Tonys four times and been asked back to host the Emmys, and why will he probably host every award show ever until the end of time? Because he’s a consummate professional. That opening number is one of the most put-together, professional things I’ve ever witnessed. The use of such a word would never be approved for the song, and Neil is obviously professional enough not to ad lib it. Did I mention professional?
If you still want to hear it for yourself, here’s the video again. The moment in question is at 3:15.