What happened didn’t stay in Vegas

Bob Taylor

Oh my.

No wonder MTV has decided not to re-air this year’s Video Music Awards ad nauseum, which took place in Las Vegas this year. Despite the fact that they may say it’s because of declining ratings, I think the real reason is plain and simple.

It sucked. Badly.

Now, let’s put aside the whole Britney Spears opening fiasco and concentrate on the show itself, which was 10 kinds of awkward, clumsy and harsh. I think this stems from the fact that the record industry has become so self-aware and painfully serious that they refuse to have fun with themselves.

Look no further than Sarah Silverman’s painful opening few jokes, which might have been funny in any other setting. But at the VMAs, Silverman couldn’t catch a break, as every joke she made about the music industry or certain singers met with harsh stares and frowns. Why were they afraid to laugh at themselves?

At least stars at the Oscars or Emmys are willing to poke fun at themselves and celebrity culture in general, and often the best jokes made are the self-aware ones.

After Sept. 11, Ellen Degeneres opened her hosting gig on the Emmys by saying “What would upset the Taliban more than a gay woman wearing a suit in a roomful of Jews?” and we remember it because it was insightful, funny and true. It also got the biggest laugh of the night.

What fun was it to put 50 Cent and Kanye West as presenters if they didn’t make a joke about their “rivalry?” All they did was walk on stage, not look at one another and send shivers through the spines of viewers everywhere. And now Kanye is claiming he will never work with MTV again because he felt the show “exploited” him and was angry because he didn’t get to perform “Stronger” on the main stage, but instead in a hotel suite.

Though Kanye definitely can’t take a joke, he did make a good point about the abhorrent suite shows, which made the bands performing look like they were in a bad Ashlee Simpson video. When I see any awards show, especially a musical one, I expect huge acts on the main stage that take my breath away.

Speaking of huge acts, I’m not going to cut into Britney like everyone else because I was secretly hoping the act would be some sort of comeback for her. You have two kids and not perform onstage for years and then open up the VMAs in a skimpy outfit, and let’s see how nervous you are.