Sony, ramping up awareness in advance of its March 11 release of spy spoof The Brothers Grimsby, starring Sasha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong, this morning dropped its red-band trailer.

Last night, however, in what is either the most effective, or most more useless, late-night TV promo of a new movie (jury’s still out here) Baron Cohen stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live with an “exclusive sneak peek” clip that almost got the film an NC-17 rating. ABC Decency Police, to the surprise of no one, deemed the clip unfit for broadcast, even in late-night. So, Kimmel told his studio audience, they were about to see this graphic clip of the movie which viewers at home would not be able to see. “I know you think we’re kidding, but we’re not,” Kimmel said as the audience tittered. Cohen said he wasn’t okay with the situation but had no choice. Hmmm….

Anyway, Kimmel’s cameras cut to studio crowd (and Kimmel, who’d move to sit in the audience) grimacing,  squealing, giggling and covering their eyes. About 3 minutes worth:

The gag was kind of like how PETA every year used to make a Super Bowl ad it knew would never past the decency police at the game’s host broadcast network, and then plug it online as “the ad deemed too hot for the Super Bowl broadcast,” which the media would write about, and viewers would go online to check out. Mission Accomplished:

In fact, Sony’s The Brothers Grimsby clip-showing stunt last night may have been a late-night TV first, but watching people watching something raunchy, scary, tragic, pornographic – or Oscar nominations –  is a time-honored online tradition: