4 VMA hosts who dropped the ball

Aug 23, 2012 at 11:48 a.m. ET

With the VMAs scheduled for Sept. 6, we’re haunted with memories of ghosts from hosts past. These MTV award shows are a massive production, so picking the perfect host is imperative. MTV has hit it out of the host park some years, and completely struck out other years. Here’s a recap of hosts who flopped…

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler

We love Chelsea, but there wasn’t a lot of Chelsea love to be had after she hosted the 2010 VMAs. The New York Times panned Chelsea as “among the worst hosts in the show’s history.” Yikes. Other critics felt Chelsea’s jokes didn’t hit the mark and described her as “crass.” (Der. We’re pretty sure MTV wasn't expecting etiquette jokes and preschool puns when they brought Chelsea on. If they wanted class, they would have asked Catherine Zeta-Jones to host.) In true Chelsea Lately form, the say-it-like it is comedian told the world to “f*** off” in response to the criticism. This little spit-fire has gone on to kick some righteous television backside, so her failed hosting experience doesn’t seem to have adversely affected her overall career. That should be the message Kevin takes away from Chelsea’s hosting experience.


P. Diddy

Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Sean Combs (yes, it did take him some time to grasp the concept of branding) hosted the 2005 VMAs. There are a lot of people who think P. Diddy is cool. We just don’t know any of them. Everything this guy does reads the same, “Let’s talk about me.” His opening at the VMAs pretty much says it all: “Let me leave my bevy of beauties to host a wickedly popular awards show with a toothpick in my mouth. Later I’m gonna host a party in the Hamptons and everyone who is lucky enough to be invited is going to wear white because I said so. Anyone who doesn’t wear white is going to be pimp-slapped.”

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Russell Brand

Russell’s a great host now, but it took him a bit to figure out that his brand of humor wasn’t initially embraced by Americans. At the 2008 VMAs, Russell broke just about every courtesy that exists when it comes to cracking jokes in mixed company. We’re not real sure how they do things across the pond, but in the States we all know it’s best to avoid politics and religion until you know your audience. Brand called President Bush a “retarded cowboy fellow” (which depending on how you look at things, offends Bush supports and/or the mentally challenged) and then taunted the wildly popular Jonas Brothers for wearing purity rings. Fans of the show went from being mildly offended to completely outraged when Russell Brand cut off Robert Pattinson. There’s a line, and Brand crossed it.

No host

In 2004, 2007 and 2011, MTV got a world-class case of the screw-its and didn’t hire a host. Talk about a lack of motivation. Don’t these people have a whole year to plan these things? So you hire a dud once in a while. Who has an award show without a host? (Well, other than MTV.) Remember that debacle of a show in 2007, hosted with no host in Las Vegas at The Palms where shots just randomly jumped from one hotel room to another? It was just weird. It probably looked creative on paper, but that year it made the VMAs look like those early AT&T commercials with all the jumping around. The 2007 no-host VMAs was the same year Britney got up on stage wearing lingerie with a body that wasn't quite lingerie-ready, lip-syncing to what appeared to be a completely different song than what was playing, and dancing in a way that is usually reserved for America's Got Talent rejects. We're not going to post that video, because it has to be particularly embarrassing for Britney and picking a scab is just in poor taste. Ah, ha, ha. Gotcha. Who are we kidding? Roll 'em: