The MTV Video Music Awards have long been a hotbed of insanity and ridiculous nonsense, where the stars make fools of themselves and provide our pop culture talking points for the following year.
In other words, you will not find a more wretched cultural hive of scum and villainy anywhere in the universe. Of course, that’s why we love it, and to celebrate this year’s installment of the VMA’s, we thought we’d take a look back at these, the nine craziest MTV VMA moments of them all.
9. Diana Ross Fondles Lil’ Kim – 1999
Lil’ Kim showed up for the MTV VMA’s in 1999 with one titty hanging out, with only a pasty over the nipple keeping her from causing mass faintings in the church lady portion of the audience. But a single booby flapping in the breeze is pretty much par for the VMA course, and so it took a little something more to kick it up a notch to true legendary status. Enter Diana Ross, herself a legend, who presented with Kim and took the opportunity to fondle her boob on stage like a horny teenage boy. It’s good to see generations coming together to make something magical. And hey, after being crushed by Biggie Smalls back in the day, I’m sure Lil’ Kim barely even noticed Diana Ross’ gentle touch.
8. Fartman Arrives – 1992
1992 was a crazy year at the MTV VMA’s – you had Nirvana play the first few chords of “Rape Me”, causing mass angina for MTV execs, Nirvana feuding with Guns N’ Roses, who performed a ridiculous version of “November Rain” with Elton John, and Elton himself playing on a piano that Kurt Cobain spat on because he thought it was Axl Rose’s – but the whole insane thing was topped off by Howard Stern rappelling from the ceiling like the world’s most disturbing superhero, the back cut out of his pants to reveal two jiggly cottage cheese ass cheeks, and then bending over and unveiling Fartman to the roars of the audience and the disgust of Cindy Crawford backstage. Now you know why 1992 is considered one of the great years in pop-culture history. Truly, it was a better time for art.
7. Rose McGowan Forgets Her Clothes – 1998
Look, a lady has to stand out when she’s got Marilyn Manson’s freakish ass on her arm as her date, but Rose McGowan has always been a classy lady of deep wisdom and insight, and she pulled it off in style – by going buck-ass naked. Okay, okay, technically she was wearing… something, but that something was seemingly made up of dental floss and fabric so thin and see-thru that if you looked at it under a microscope, you’d probably see that its molecular structure was just a single atom shrugging its shoulders. It’s called science, look it up. The science of naked boobs. Who says MTV isn’t educational?
6. Eminem Fights Everyone – 2002
In Eminem’s long storied history of ridiculous nonsense, perhaps nothing was more ridiculous than his showing at the 2002 VMA’s. It started with a feud with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog – yeah, really – which then transitioned to a feud with Moby of all people, before Em himself started getting booed by the brilliant tastemakers in the audience. The whole sublime, absurd thing was capped off with Eminem challenging Moby to a fight during Eminem’s acceptance speech if Moby didn’t stop heckling him. In some ways, it was the most Eminem night of all time, but hey, what’s a man to do when a rubber hand puppet and an old, bald nerd won’t leave him alone? A man’s got to represent.
5. Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford Climbs the Set – 2000
Look, we were all in a weird place in the year of our lord 2000. After successfully fending off Y2K, we celebrated by actually giving an award to Limp Bizkit and Fred Durst as the best rock band on the planet. Yeah. Drugs were plentiful, okay? Naturally, Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford handled it about as well as the rest of us by actually climbing the set during Durst’s acceptance speech. For his part, Durst did the classy, mature thing and bellowed “Stage dive, dude!” at Commerford before calling him a pussy for not jumping. That all actually happened. I’m not making any of this up. Rage frontman Zack de la Rocha was supposedly so ashamed by it all that he left the show early, which I’m pretty sure is a metaphor for pop culture as a whole during that strange and terrible time.
4. Madonna Makes Out With Britney and Xtina – 2003
Madonna has always been the queen of the VMA’s, but by 2003, it was clear that there had been a changing in the ingénue guard, and so Madonna decided to pass the torch in the classiest way possible – by giving a heartfelt speech about the power of sisterhood and the responsibilities of… oh wait, just kidding. Actually, she just made out with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage, which is pretty much the same thing, right? It already seems kind of tame by today’s standards, but believe it or not a nation founded by Puritans sort of lost its shit over this. In retrospect, though, given how Britney and Christina’s lives and careers have gone since, I’m pretty sure Madonna actually stole their essences or something in order to stay young, so maybe the Puritans were on to something. After all, if anyone understands sexy hexes, it’s those witch burners.
3. Madonna Sets the Tone for All VMA’s to Come – 1984
1984 was the first year for the VMA’s, a simpler time of goofy videos and Cyndi Laupers, but Madonna wasn’t having any of that shit. Oh no. In one night, she blazed a path that every pop star has tried to follow since. Yes, it’s the famous “Like a Virgin” performance, which saw Madonna come out in a wedding dress and roll around on stage like, uh… well, like not a virgin. Again, pretty tame by today’s standards, but people were shocked – shocked! – by the performance, which instantly brought Madonna to the forefront of the pop music game, and let everyone know that from now on, the “sex” part of “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” was back, and in a big way.
2. Miley Cyrus’ Twerkapalooza – 2013
Miley Cyrus didn’t just follow that path blazed by Madonna, she set fire to it all over again, left it a scorched ruin and took off down her own path of insanity and frantic ass shaking. Look, we all remember this one. It’s still fresh in our minds. There’s Miley, bent over, rubbing up on Robin Thicke like a cat in heat while her contemporaries all stare wide eyed in shock and horror from the crowd, millions of parents frantically dragging their kids away from the TV. You can see it like it was yesterday. It was the moment when Hannah Montana died and Miley became the Miley we all know and shake our heads at today. It was a calculated move on her part, an atomic bomb to her image that she set off in order to distance herself from those child-star roots, and judging by our collective reaction, it more than worked. Or maybe she’s just completely friggin’ nuts. Who’s to say?
1. “Imma let you finish…”
Oh, Kanye. It’s maybe the most Kanye moment of them all, and that means that it has to be the craziest, most ridiculous MTV VMA moment of them all. You all know what I’m talking about. It’s the night he crashed the stage and interrupted Taylor Swift with the immortal “Yo Tay, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” And with that, a million memes were born, Kanye was immortalized on the Jackass Mt. Rushmore, and in the building itself, Beyoncé hung her head in embarrassment, the Cult of Victim Taylor Swift was born, and Kanye himself was booed off the stage while he flipped off the crowd. Oh well, at least it’s not like he did something really crazy like marrying a Kardashian. Not even MTV would sink that low.
MTV VMA image: YouTube