Clash of the Blondes: The Actual Greatest VMA Moment of All Time
"Courtney Love's in dire need of attention right now."
The MTV Video Music Awards are happening next Monday night, and like any good old millennial, just uttering the name of the awards show immediately brings me back to what is maybe one of the greatest moments in history; that time that Courtney Love crashed a Madonna interview in during the 1995 VMA's.
Here's a refresher:
There are so many things happening here and each of them is perfect in its own way. Madonna, wearing a full look from Tom Ford's instantly iconic Fall 1995 collection for Gucci. She does not yet have a British accent, and still in post-SEX book rehabilitation, refers to her upcoming ballads record Something to Remember, as something to "you know what to." She is now fully into her pivot to respectable lady—the pinnacle of which will be the release of Evita the following year.
As Madonna attempts to talk about her upcoming work, a makeup compact literally flies over her head. She stops, looks stunned, immediately turns to see what it is and where it's coming from. From the distance you can hear a "HI!" and then Loder responds, "Hi, Courtney!" the same way Barney the purple dinosaur greeted his children friends. Loder does the only sensible thing, and invites her up to their little interview stage. The camera pans down, and we see Courtney still throwing a neverending amount of compacts their way. (What are these compacts actually? How does she have so many compacts in her purse? Also, why?!) From off-camera we can hear Madonna, in an uncharacteristic shy (or is it scared?!) voice say, "Should we let her come up?" Loder, who can sense what's about to go down is far too great to ignore responds "Yeah! Come up, Courtney!" Madonna, with even more trepidation says "N-n-no don't please," while nervously fidgeting with the buttons of her shirt. Loder keeps inviting Courtney up, and yet somehow she is still throwing new compacts up their way. Then Madonna utters the most delicious (and perhaps ironic) line, "Courtney Love's in dire need of attention right now."
The contrast between Loder's unabashed enthusiasm and Madonna's absolute wariness is literally brain candy.
Courtney makes her way up the stairs, and peeks in like a child to make sure she really is allowed up here. (In the process she probably flashes everyone downstairs which is why you hear a lot of whistling from the audience). It's about to happen, peak-Courtney Courtney Love and peak-Madonna Madonna are about to be in the same space. It starts awkward (obviously) but then it's all gold! Gold! Gold! To wit:
Courtney (talking about Dennis Miller): "I used to have a crush on him!"
Madonna: "W H Y ?"
Courtney: "You don't even do rock stars anymore! You—as Michael Stipe would say—dip into the population..."
Then, Courtney goes into a tangent comparing the music business to a hospital. How she's a surgeon so she sleeps with the ambulance driver, but then she wants to be the best surgeon, she wants to be the top surgeon, she wants to buy the hospital. Madonna then suggests perhaps Courtney should "leave the hospital." And we get the second greatest line to emerge from this moment, when Courtney responds, "Nah, man I like it in here! Nice clothes... good money." Madonna comes back with "...and lots of available drugs!" It's like watching a more glamorous but also scuzzy Abbot and Costello routine.
THEN (yes, this is still going on!), Courtney—kneeling in front of Madonna for some reason—tell her she and Kurt went to see Truth or Dare on a date and at the end he said to her "Jesus, that's YOU!" Madonna looks down at Courtney with a very obvious that's the worst thing anyone can say to me look and asks "...really?" Madonna is subsequently taken away by her people.
In literally three minutes. The world stood still and simultaneously expanded. It's almost like a pre-Spiderman meme come to life: Madonna face to face with a version of the uninhibited blonde she used to be in her youth (although Madonna was never punk!). It goes without saying that this could obviously never happen today, although I would pay all my avocado toast money to see Madonna and Courtney Love, in conversation, in the year of our lord 2019. So while everyone enjoys the sight of Camilla Cabello canoodling with her boyfriend Shawn Mendes this Monday, I will be deep in a YouTube hole (no pun intended!), watching the greatest unhinged moments on MTV from the days when they still played music videos (I am old!).