On Sunday evening, when E!'s From The Red Carpet: 2003 Golden Globes special went live, a technical glitch found co-host Joan Rivers squawking away, but without any sound. And for a brief moment, viewers may have thought they'd be spared the inane drivel that accompanies the pretty pictures of stars in their finest (or to Joan's sadistic delight, their worst). Later, the producers of NBC's own Golden Globes Arrivals special may have wished their sound died when one actor got a bit too colorful for broadcast television. But such is the nature of live television, when anything can — and oftentimes does — get blurted. Here's a recap of the night's verbal highlights:

Groaners & Gaffes
Following a miss-or-miss opening salvo of one-liners — including two tries at an already-dated Michael Jackson dangling baby reference, a dusty Heidi Fleiss dig, and a disturbing quip about how Austin Powers midget Mini-Me fits (literally, ugh) into her love life — E!'s Joan segued into her usual "Look at me, I'm pop culturally challenged" questions. Cases in point: Of Curb Your Enthusiasm's Cheryl Hines, she inquired, "How do you memorize lines?" (Um, it's an acclaimed improv series, Joan.) Later, she asked buff Alias ass-kicker Jennifer Garner, "Do you work out?" (Garner all but rolled her eyes in replying, "Yeah.")
As for out-and-out flubs, Joan limited herself this show to just a few, most notably welcoming indie film journeyman James (as opposed to John) C. Reilly, and referring to the gritty Leonardo DiCaprio drama as Streets Of New York.
Over on NBC, Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell — who worked alongside awards show mainstay Dick Clark and View alum Lisa Ling — made a pair of miscues, talking to Michael Caine about his film The Great (as opposed to Quiet) American, and labeling Elton John's longtime companion of almost a decade, David Furnish, as the rock legend's "friend." How tidy.

Newsy & Notable
Fortunately, with shows as loosey goosey as these, the actors get to unleash a few interesting, unscripted insights. On E!, Malcolm In The Middle dad Bryan Cranston ad-libbed a crack about "Malcolm Forbes," a "closet" and "women's clothing" that we'd just as soon not get, while U2 frontman Bono warned that if Martin Scorsese didn't win Best Director honors for Gangs Of New York, "I know some Irish gangs that will be coming around with baseball bats." (As it turns out, the Hollywood Foreign Press can sleep soundly.)
Speaking of things Irish, Celt hunk Colin Farrell, in talking with NBC's Ling, made George Carlin smile somewhere by blurting one of those words you can't say on TV. (Co-host Dick Clark, meanwhile, perhaps was licking his chops at using the foul-up in a future bloopers special).
Back on E!, The West Wing's Bradley Whitford, one of eight (!) nominees for Best Supporting Actor (Series/Miniseries/Made For TV Movie), joked, "I'm in that strange category that has all the people from comedies and dramas... and ice skaters and magicians." Shirley MacLaine, nominated for her portrayal of the real life cosmetics queen in the TV biopic Hell On Heels: The Battle Of Mary Kay, confessed that, "No," she has never sampled Kay's products. Meanwhile, About A Boy director Chris Weitz, in pointing out that his film was vying for best Picture with four "really depressing movies," noted, "We actually have a suicide attempt in our film, so I'm hoping that will sway the jury."

In The End, It's All About Joan
But the jury that many red carpet walkers face, not long after their Harry Winston loaners are returned, is Joan Rivers, who ultimately dispenses with her polite hugs and haughty air kisses for E!'s Fashion Police after-show special. But even that "free for all" critique is losing some of its zing, as Joan finds herself having to answer to her victims (and pets) at the next gala. On Sunday night, Bono, Debra Messing, West Wing's John Spencer... hell, even the creator of FX's The Shield, were among those who made reference to Joan's famed best-and worst-dressed labels, with the Will & Grace star going so far as to tell Joan, "This is all about coming to see you." Messing can only thank her lucky Vera Wangs that her choices never rub Joan the wrong way.
For complete coverage of the 2003 Golden Globes, click here.