Oscars Pizza Man Receives $1,000 Tip

Twelve Years a Slave auteur Steve McQueen might've made history as the first black director to win Best Picture at the Oscars, but 2014 is already set to be remembered as the Year of the Pizza. Partway through the show, host Ellen DeGeneres ushered a pizza delivery guy onstage, then led him into the audience as Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, and others began to chow down. DeGeneres proceeded to collect $600 in tips from the celebrity audience, which she presented to delivery man Edgar Martirosyan on her talk show Monday.

"They told me I'm going to deliver pizzas for writers, and then when I went there, Ellen came out and told me, 'Just follow me,'" Martirosyan told New York Daily News. "When I was going, I realized I'm on the stage, and I just went. I wasn't nervous. I was cool."

The total tip amounted to $1,000, with $600 collected from the Oscars attendees (most appreciably Harvey Weinstein), and another $400 contributed by DeGeneres. Martirosyan, who owns Big Mama's and Papa's Pizzeria in West Hollywood, was pitching in with deliveries at the time of the order.

"I just thought it was a regular delivery," he said. "I didn't know I was going to go on the stage."

Twitter quickly latched on to the stunt, which caused some users to question their allegiances to certain celebrities: While others joked about the hefty tab:
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While Martirosyan confirmed that the tip is the biggest he's ever received, the potential boon to his business is valued at well over $1,000. With advertising on the Oscars broadcast beginning at $1.8 million, the restaurant's publicity coup is is thought to be worth $10 million, Variety reported.

Wayne Grigorian, who owns another Big Mama's and Papa's franchise in Los Angeles, told E! that online orders came in at a frequency of once per minute after the pizzeria's Oscar moment--a 500 percent bump in business. "We knew we were going to get some orders because of the Oscars, but this event made it unbelievable," he said.

Nevertheless, Martirosyan remains humble about his moment in the spotlight. "I took the order, I delivered, that was it," he told New York Daily News, adding that he was excited to deliver a slice to Julia Roberts personally. He plans to share the tip with his staff. In the meantime, maybe his appearance will counteract some of the restaurant's mixed Yelp reviews.

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