Before Jon Stewart was host of The Daily Show, he was actually something of an MTV personality. He’d had a talk show, The Jon Stewart Show, from 1993 to 1995, and before he jumped to Comedy Central, that’s where I best knew him from. In 1999, he got together with Denis Leary and Janeane Garofalo (both of whom, I believe, were good friends of his at the time) and Chris Kattan (for some reason) to tape what I still consider the greatest MTV special of all time: The MTV Lame 25.
Basically, Jon Stewart and Co. made fun of the lamest videos in MTV history and destroyed the tapes. It was the last time certain music videos were ever played on MTV, including Eddie Murphy’s Whatzupwitu with Michael Jackson, which, thank God, right?
If you’re curious, here were the worst videos of all time, as ranked by MTV at the time:
25. Spin Doctors “Two Princes” (1993)
24. Hammer “Too Legit To Quit” (1991)
23. Wilson Phillips “Hold On” (1990)
22. Chumbawamba “Tubthumping” (1998)
21. Billy Squier “Rock Me Tonight” (1984)
20. 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up” (1993)
19. Motley Crue “Without You” (1989)
18. Snow “Informer” (1993)
17. Paula Abdul “Rush Rush” (1991)
16. Warrant “Heaven” (1989)
15. Crash Test Dummies “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” (1994)
14. Aqua “Barbie Girl” (1997)
13. Journey “Separate Ways” (1983)
12. Winger “Seventeen” (1988)
11. Wham! “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” (1984)
10. Debbie Gibson “Electric Youth” (1989)
9. Vanilla Ice “Ice, Ice, Baby” (1990)
8. Milli Vanilli “Girl You Know It’s True” (1989)
7. Gerardo “Rico Suave” (1991)
6. Daryl Hall & John Oates “Maneater” (1982)
5. Los Del Rio “Macarena” (1996)
4. Nelson “After The Rain” (1990)
3. Eddie Murphy featuring Michael Jackson “Whatzupwitu” (1993)
2. Chunky A “Owww!” (1993)
1. Don Johnson “Heartbeat” (1986)
I watched the entire first airing of this (I mean, who wouldn’t? Jon Stewart and Janeane Garofalo sh*tting on music videos? That’s basically the greatest show ever). The best part of the special, however, and something I will never, ever forget was the moment when Rob Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice, came on to the show to personally destroy the tape for his music video, “Ice Ice Baby.”
At first, Vanilla Ice seemed to have a good sense of humor about the whole thing. He joined in as Jon Stewart and Co. affectionately mocked him. But, when given a baseball bat to destroy the tape of the music video, Vanilla Ice went berserker. He basically destroyed the entire set and scared the sh*t everyone there, in the process.
Here’s EW’s write-up of the moment at the time:
The Iceman, who showed up at the April 30 taping in a Dr. Evil T-shirt, took a baseball bat not only to the ”Baby” videotape but also to the entire set, leaving cast and crew in shocked silence. Stewart even suffered a cut on his hand from flying debris. ”I could care less,” Ice says of being included on the lame list, adding that going ballistic was a last-minute choice. ”I was genuinely afraid,” says Garofalo. ”I thought he was seriously going to get really angry on a channel that embraced him and then turned and mocked him.”
That about describes it, and thanks to YouTube, we can all relive it. If you’re short on time, just skip ahead to the 1:25 minute mark to see Vanilla Ice lose it.