Seth Rogen (left) and James Franco pretend to light a joint while presenting the award for "best movie so far" Sunday night at the MTV Movie Awards. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)
Like the stoners they play in the upcoming ‘‘Pineapple Express,’’ Seth Rogen and James Franco stumbled unkowingly into trouble Sunday at the MTV Movie Awards.
And of course, the weed was someone else’s.
Early on in the show, Rogen and Franco took the podium to present the award for best summer movie so far, joking that MTV chose them because only ‘‘two potheads like us’’ would be willing to announce such a strange category. Then they pulled out a bag of ‘‘fake weed’’ and a ‘‘huge fatty joint’’ — and proceeded to light it.
‘‘Kids, don’t really smoke fake weed like this,’’ Rogen told the crowd at the Gibson Amphitheatre, with a degree of sarcasm to suggest that the only fake thing was the idea that it was fake.
But before TV audiences could see the ‘‘contraband,’’ the cameras pulled to an extremely wide angle, and stayed that way until Rogen and Franco left the stage. The awkward moment made some in the audience laugh, but left Robert Downey Jr. — who accepted the award on behalf of ‘‘Iron Man’’ alongside director John Favreau — with a puzzled look.
Backstage, Franco said MTV put them up to the joke, even supplying the script, the fake marijuana and the fake joint — then had a last-second change of heart about the bit.
‘‘MTV wrote it! ... Then backstage there was this big commotion: ’You guys can’t say that,’ ’’ Franco said. ‘‘It says right in the script: ’Lights fake joint.’ ’’
He liked the bit, saying: ‘‘that was the joke, because the No. 1 question we get about ’Pineapple Express’ is, ’What kind of research did you guys do?’ ’’
Franco said he was disappointed that the cameras went wide.
‘‘I think they killed the joke,’’ he said.
So what was really in the bag?
‘‘I don’t know! MTV gave it to us.’’