About the Show
Wednesday, September 09, 1992
In 1992, the culture of popular music and the art of the music video were changing, and MTV reacted accordingly.
In what can only be described as one of the most significant regime changes in recorded history, the 1992 Video Music Awards saw the Goblet of Hosting finally passed. After four years, Arsenio Hall commanded these proceedings no more. It was time for another comedian to make us laugh. That's right, and we tapped Dana Carvey to do the honors.
One of the shining stars of Saturday Night Live, Carvey brought his zippy one-liners, goofy guffaws, quirky impersonations and mastery of sketch comedy to a new VMA stage at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Playing to his strengths, the show had an abundance of skits, opening with Carvey as President George Bush and including a running gag that featured fellow SNL cast member David Spade as the VMA doorman (hilarity ensues when Andrew Dice Clay, who was "banned for life" after his antics at the 1989 show, tries to enter the theatre). The most memorable host moment came as Carvey, dressed as his Wayne's World character Garth, played drums for U2, who were performing "Even Better Than the Real Thing" via satellite from Detroit. A classic VMA moment.
There was also Howard Stern's infamous "Fartman" appearance that defined a classic VMA moment in 1992. Howard Stern If you're unfamiliar, Stern threatened to develop a full-length film for this superhero, sporting a giant codpiece in the front of his costume with holes in the rear to reveal, well, Stern's rear. "Great ass, man," commented co-presenter Luke Perry. Interestingly, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich whined that Howard was stealing all of the attention as he tried to accept the Best Metal/Hard Rock video for the band's "Enter Sandman" clip.
Let's see, what else happened? Oh yea, Flea mounted the podium and pantomimed masturbation while the Red Hot Chili Peppers accepted one of their three wins for "Under the Bridge"; Nirvana sent a Michael Jackson impersonator to the podium to accept their Best Alternative Video Moonman for "Smells Like Teen Spirit"; and Axl Rose tactfully proclaimed that the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award he was accepting on behalf of Guns N' Roses had nothing to do with Jacko.
Van Halen tied the Chili Peppers with three Moonmen, including Video of the Year, for "Right Now."
The Black Crowes, En Vogue, Def Leppard, Pearl Jam, Elton John, Eric Clapton and GNR were all among the performers on that 1992 VMA night, but it was Bobby Brown who dropped an f-bomb after his performance of "Humpin' Around." The censors didn't catch the slip, and Chili Pepper Anthony Kiedis cracked that Brown would join Dice on MTV's infamous banned-for-life list.
But the moment that got the panties of the MTV suits in a bunch came as Nirvana's Kurt Cobain strummed a few bars of "Rape Me" -- a song MTV forbade them to play -- before launching into "Lithium." As if that weren't enough, towards the end of the song, bassist Krist Novoselic tossed his guitar in the air, only to catch it with his face. As he stumbled off the stage in a daze, Kurt trashed the amps and drummer Dave Grohl ran to the mic to repeatedly yell, "Hi Axl!"
Despite a sense that we were losing control of the thing, there's no denying that 1992 was home to yet another awesome MTV Video Music Awards.