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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In The Spotlight

This week, British actor Hugh Grant appeared on Channel One’s “ProjectorParisHilton,” an improvised comedy show about current affairs, and bravely bore jokes about the queen, screaming tennis players and bestiality.

Grant arrived in Moscow last week to promote his latest romcom, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” The Russian tabloids melted under his crumpled charm and fretted that he forgot to bring a hat and gloves in temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius.

According to the usual star schedule, Grant stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and ate at Cafe Pushkin, tabloids reported. And appearing on Channel One seems to be almost as obligatory.

To start with, Grant was a guest on Channel One’s “Let Them Talk,” a tabloid-style early-evening talk show. I imagine that his PR people told him that the granny/housewife market was key to his film. But Grant looked understandably distressed as he realized that shouty host Andrei Malakhov was juggling him with another guest: the sobbing mother of a girl whose face was horrifically damaged in an acid attack.

At the beginning, Grant gave some standard witty answers about the film’s subject of relationships and batted his eyelashes a lot.

But when the mother appeared, wiping her eyes, he said he felt uncomfortable talking about acting and sat back listening to a discussion of the acid attack. It was unclear whether he had a translation in his ear. In any case, it was mortifying to watch.

“ProjectorParisHilton” also did not make many concessions to Grant’s lack of knowledge of Russian, but it was entertaining. The show has a bloke-ish atmosphere with comedians Ivan Urgant, Alexander Tsekalo and Sergei Svetlakov appearing to have a real rapport.

Svetlakov offered Grant tea and biscuits as he sat down — “It’s free to begin with at least. We’ll see how good your jokes are,” he warned. He then asked about Grant’s latest film, set in backwoods America. “Did you and Sarah Jessica Parker milk a cow — tzik, tzik?” he asked, making hand gestures. “I didn’t understand the translation, but I’m sure that was very good,” Grant responded, after listening to his earpiece.

Then Svetlakov asked him if he “interacted with animals” in the film, which got a broad laugh from the sniggering audience. I guess that was lost in translation, too, but Grant said he acted with a giant bear and had to be very “brave.”

“At Ostankino, we have a cat now that pisses in all the corners. Since you’re so brave, could you castrate it?” Svetlakov said, putting the shaggy tabby in Grant’s lap. Obviously a cat person, Grant stroked it but asked for a knife.

The current affairs element of the show amounted to a story about the queen. Grant confided that he has a recurring dream about her: “We’re always round at Buckingham Palace, having a beer. She plays me all her records — we listen to them and dance,” he said.

In other planned stunts, the comedians tried to sell him a fake Warhol painting and asked him to identify recordings of screaming women’s tennis players — he got Maria Sharapova right, after prompting.

Finally they handed him a $50 note for his upcoming 50th birthday, explaining that it features General Grant, although Hugh Grant seemed underwhelmed or perhaps just bewildered.

It was a good show, even if it seemed slightly unfair to make Grant the butt of jokes that he wasn’t really let in on. If they ever want a better translator to whisper into Grant’s ear, I would be happy to offer my services.