Musicians Who Lost It On Live TV

Throw a guitar pick out a window, and you'll likely hit a musician. Even before RCA Victor made the first vinyl long-playing record available commercially in 1930, people across the world have been sequestering themselves in their bedrooms, plucking at their instrument of choice, with the hope of one day becoming a famous musician. Throughout the years, there was always someone talented and successful to emulate. Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Madonna all had dozens of hits in the charts. It took dedication and hard work to get that famous.

But times have changed. Nowadays, a musician can become the talk of the town in a day, and all it takes is one live TV freak out. 

There are a lot of variables when it comes to musicians: talent level, likability, work ethic. But If there's one thing they can always be counted on to be, it's unpredictable. Especially when a live camera is pointed at them. They might not hit all the notes, and they may not show up to the studio on time, but damn, they can make some pretty hilarious scenes.

Courtney Love crashes Madonna's interview during the 1995 VMA's

During the 1995 VMA post-show interviews, Kurt Loder sat with Madonna, winner of Best Female Video for "Take a Bow," and the two discussed her upcoming album of ballads, Something to Remember. As Madonna is answering a question about whether or not the album reflects a certain "smoochy-ness" going on her life at that time (Trivia: she was most likely still with Carlos Leon, father to her daughter Lourdes), a black makeup compact zooms over her head, thrown by some unknown hand. 

"Hi, Courtney!" Loder says to the person, standing at ground level beneath their balcony. "Should we let her come up? No. Don't. Please." Madonna says in return.

The person they're referring to is Courtney Love, whose band Hole performed the song "Violet," off of their 1994 sophomore album Live Through This, during the awards broadcast. Eventually, Courtney does make her way up, completely overtaking Madonna's interview by engaging her in an unhinged conversation about dating and shoes, all while Madonna makes desperate pleas with her eyes at someone standing off camera, who, eventually, swoops in and escorts Madonna to safety with a good story to tell, and half a dozen used compacts. In a 2016 interview Kurt Loder reflected on the event saying that Love had been "wrecked," and that Madonna's publicist had pleaded with him not to let her crash the tête-à-tête, but he overruled her. 

James Brown is really entertaining himself during this CNN interview

In 1988, a day after posting $15,000 bond for his arrest for assault and battery with intent to kill, James Brown appeared on CNN's Sonya Live! for an interview that should have been part of an apology tour, but ended up being a bizarre display of bravado. According to an article in People, Brown had repeatedly fired a rifle at his wife Adrienne's car, and beat her with a metal mop handle. During the interview, however, he seems anything but remorseful.

Welcoming Brown to the show, and then easing into her first question ("How did all this trouble begin?"), Dr. Sonya Friedman maintains her composure when Brown responds by launching into a verse of his song "Living in America," instead of properly answering her question. As the interviewer presses on, Brown launches into another song, and at the first mention of the word "wife," he pounds his hand into his fist and says, "Let's talk about some music." 

Brown mentions that he's leaving for a tour in Brazil the following day, seemingly without a care in the world for the charges at hand. 

Mariah Carey was diagnosed as bipolar after an unhinged TRL appearance

Back in the day, all the cool kids watched MTV's Total Request Live (TRL), hosted by Carson Daly. It was a big deal in a time before YouTube made it so you could watch your favorite videos whenever you wanted. 

Both the audience and the host got quite a surprise during a 2001 broadcast when Mariah Carey crashed the show. While Daly is mid-sentence, Carey is heard off camera singing "Loverboy, come on and love me." Daly, confused, looks around to see what's going on, and Carey emerges, with an ice cream cart, and an airbrushed "Loverboy" t-shirt, which she presents to a befuddled Daly. At one point, Carey begins to strip down, and is talking incoherently, all while maintaining a superstar smile, like it's business as usual.

In a Refinery 29 revisiting of the incident, posted in 2016 on the 15th anniversary of the event, they say that Daly has since sworn up and down that he had no idea Carey was going to appear on that show. This tracks, based on his expression, and calls to cut to commercial saying that "Mariah Carey's lost her mind." Many people agreed, seeing the stunt as a very public meltdown. In a 2018 People cover story, Carey explained that after the event, she was "hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown," and diagnosed as bipolar.

Kanye West and the infamous 'imma let you finish'

During the 2009 VMA's, while Taylor Swift was on stage accepting her award for Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me," Kanye West crashed the stage and took the mic from Swift. His reason for doing so was to praise his friend Beyonce, whose video for "Single Ladies" was nominated in the same category. Good intentions? Perhaps. But still ... extremely rude.

In 2019, Billboard published an oral history of the event, and got intel from producers and MTV staff who were there to see it first hand. According to the article, and summed up by Entertainment Tonight, everyone was floored by West's behavior, but the singer Pink was the first one to call him out on it, to his face at least. Van Toffler, a former president of Viacom, is quoted in the video as saying they overheard Beyonce, crying backstage after the incident, say "I didn't know this was going to happen. I feel so bad for her."

"Imma let you finish," West's now infamous words spoken to Swift as he took the mic from her that night, reached meme status quickly, and there are countless numbers of parody videos to be found on YouTube where West interrupts a cat, Obama, and even Hitler.   

Lindsay Lohan attempts to kidnap children while broadcasting it via Instagram

In 2018, Lindsay Lohan (yeah, she had a singing career once) attempted to "save" two children who she thought to be homeless, and then later suspected of being the victims of child trafficking, and documented the whole thing via Instagram. 

While in Moscow, Lohan, traveling via private transport, saw a family of four people sleeping on the sidewalk and decided to swoop in and "save the day." Believing the family to be Syrian refugees, she infiltrated their makeshift camp, addressing them in a mixture of English, Arabic, and complete nonsense, while their polite stares quickly turned to familial laughter in a "who the hell is this crazy lady" sort of way. She pleads with the parents of the children to let her take them to a hotel for a night and, after a few minutes of this, the family understandably gets up and walks away, with Lohan trailing after in pursuit, yelling about child trafficking, and shouting out "don't f**k with Pakistan." After seeing Lohan grab one of the kids, the  mother punches her, sending her crying to the ground, all of which is also caught on the Instagram live broadcast. Interesting to note that upon the moment of impact, Lohan's unidentifiable accent reverts 100 percent back to modern day English. 

TMZ later reported on the event extensively, and said that after seeing the video her friends became concerned for her mental health, and pleaded for Lohan to return to the States to receive proper care. 

Fiona Apple thinks this world is bulls**t

During the 1997 MTV VMA's, Fiona Apple took to the stage to accept her award for Best New Artist In A Video for "Sleep To Dream." During her speech, which she warned the crowd she hadn't prepared in advance, Apple said, "So, what I want to say is ... um, everybody out there that's watching, everybody that's watching this world? This world is bullshit." Reacting to a stir from the crowd, she held her ground saying, "You shouldn't model your life about what you think that we think is cool and what we're wearing and what we're saying and everything. Go with yourself. Go with yourself."

The speech, which is still referenced many years later, upset many critic who, according to Flavorwire, called the singer "a self-important twit," and a "humorless scold." Although people deeply embedded in the business side of the music industry didn't take too kindly to Apple's speech, it was praised by other artists and writers who share a similar mindset with the singer. 

Kelly Clarkson met Meryl Streep and lost her mind

Kelly Clarkson may have been extremely excited to be presenting an award for Best Original Song at the 2018 Golden Globes, but her excitement level came to a boil when she spotted one of her favorite actresses on the red carpet. 

Mid-interview with Ryan Seacrest, Clarkson spots Meryl Streep in the near distance and seems to lose control over her mind and body while calling out, "It's Meryl! That's Meryl!" She clung to Seacrest, who said his heart stopped because he thought Clarkson had tripped and was about to fall. Seacrest graciously steadies Clarkson while guiding her over to Streep so she can meet her. Taking careful steps, holding her gown, Clarkson beams at Streep saying, "I've adored you since I was like eight." 

Streep was nominated that year for her role in The Post, but lost out to Frances McDormand  for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Even still, she was the night's winner in Clarkson's eyes, judging by the clip. 

Whatever you do, don't try to photograph Bjork's children at the airport

In 1996, while maneuvering through an airport in Thailand with her 10-year-old son Sindri, Bjork showed the world that no matter what you do, do NOT attempt to photograph her children without her permission.

In one of the wildest musician freak out videos to ever be seen, Bjork is shown making her way past reporters in the airport with her head down, clearly exhibiting body language clues that she didn't feel very chatty. As she passes by Julie Kaufman, a reporter from a cable TV station, according to Salon, Kaufman fires off a cheery "Welcome to Bangkok," and it was a sentence she'd eventually regret.

In the blink of an eye, after being addressed by Kaufman, Bjork leaps at her with her hands out like claws and thrashes at the woman while she screams in terror. After the assault, Bjork hurries off, leaving everyone stunned in her wake. Bjork later apologized to Kaufman, who agreed to not press charges against the singer.  

Robert Smith gave stink eye to a red carpet reporter

In 2019, The Cure were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after more than 40 years of gloom rock success. The band was Inducted by their 90s college radio peer, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who gave a heartfelt speech about the band while the camera cut to its member in the audience, all looking like they'd rather be anywhere else than there. That attitude would also explain why prior to the ceremony, Robert Smith of The Cure met reluctantly with reporters on the red carpet and when a particularly bubbly and loud interviewer asked, "Are you as excited as I am?!" Smith responded in perfect Cure fashion with, "By the sounds of it, no." 

Video of the brief Q&A quickly went viral, according to NME, and even Tim Pope, The Cure's longtime video director, tweeted a link to the clip saying it was his favorite moment from the whole event. 

"On the red carpet, they asked me was I super excited? In a funny way, I feel like we've been subsumed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Smith's quoted as saying in a Vulture article. "There's a part of me who's like, 'C'mon if you were 15, you'd be like, 'F*ck this.'"

Lou Reed showed his wild side during this interview

In 1975, Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground was interviewed in a Sydney airport for GTK, Australia's popular music TV series. Reed, who is known for his playful verging on combative interviews, sits on a couch while production checks the mic levels and gets everything situated for the interview. As he waits, he hints at what's to come by asking for spiked drinks, and commenting that he thinks Hitler was a good organizer. 

Reed is asked about his solo albums, and how it came to be that rumors had circulated that members of The Velvet Underground performed on them, and he responds that his label, RCA, must have spread them for publicity. Getting crabbier and crabbier with the interviewer, delivering glib, sarcastic, or one-word responses, things begin to get heated when Reed is asked if he's happier as a brunette and retorts, "Are you happier as a Schmuck?" 

After Reed passed away in 2013 at the age of 71, The Guardian re-posted an interview with the iconic performer first published in 2003. In the interview, the writer, Simon Hattenstone, sums up his experience during the interview saying, "Reed makes me feel like an amoeba. I want to cry."

Will Smith smacks a reporter during a red carpet interview

During the Men In Black 3 Moscow premiere, Will Smith walked the red carpet, going from reporter to reporter answering questions about the film. After talking a bit about aliens with a young reporter, Smith is asked for a hug, which he obliges. After the embrace, Smith goes to pull away, but the reporter holds on to him, and swerves his face around to steal a kiss on the actor's lips. Outraged, Smith yells at the reporter, and before walking away, gives him a slap on the face with the back of his hand, duel style.

Entertainment Weekly reported on the incident, which was caught on video and quickly went viral. Come to find, the reporter who got slapped wasn't any average reporter, but prankster Vitalii Sediuk. Smith was not the first star to be on the receiving end of Sediuk's awkwardness. He's similarly pranked Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Adele. 

"He's lucky I didn't sucker punch him," Smith told his handlers after the slap, according to Entertainment Weekly. 

Jared Leto gets heated with a heckler

Jared Leto, a cis man, played a trans woman named Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. While on stage for a Q&A about the film during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014, a person from the crowd began to heckle Leto about his role, and Leto fired back. 

Covered by the Hollywood Reporter, they detail that the female heckler shouted out "Trans-misogyny does not deserve an award." Leto asked the woman to explain herself, and then shut her down with "Then you've made sure people that are gay, people that aren't straight, people like the Rayons of the world would never have the opportunity to turn the tables and explore parts of that art," receiving applause from the audience. However, many people pointed out the problems with his argument in think pieces during his awards campaigning. 

It didn't matter to the people giving out those awards, though. Leto received the Virtuosos Award, along with three other actors,  for their breakthrough performances in 2013. He went on to win an Oscar for Best Supporting actor for his role of Rayon, a drug addicted, HIV-positive trans woman.