Russell phones home

Russell Crowe in laughing at himself shocker!

The New Zealand born star returned to the country he’s made his home for the Australian Film Industry Awards and promptly ripped the proverbial out of his recent telecom related tribulations.

Crowe hosted the event on Saturday night and took to the stage with an antique bakelite phone, commenting that if any speeches stretched beyond the acceptable, the gushing winners would be forced to say “Hello to my little friend.”

The Crowester is on conditional discharge after pleading guilty to assaulting Nestor Estrada with a telephone. Estrada was an employee of The Mercer Hotel in Manhattan where Crowe was staying at the time.

Russ took the phone offstage with him at the end of the night, along with the Best Actor Award for his performance as plucky pugilist Jim Braddock in Ron Howard's Cinderella Man.