Hilarious as that remark was, head-shaking Sanchez can only speculate how much more of a cheeky touche it would've been had Rock not preceded it with the teeth-gnashingly unfunny jape that Jennifer Lopez "needs two limos, one for her, one for her ass." If someone held a gun to the twitching temple of Sanchez, he might actually admit to enjoying Chris Rock; he might even type out some Sister of Sanchezism along the lines of "The adjective Sister of Sanchez verbs the genius of Chris Rock!" However, this Chris Rock was clearly not present at the awards, unless superfuturistic Chris Rock has determined that the funny of tomorrow will in fact be totally unfunny. "'When Jennifer Lopez's ass sits around the house, it really sits around the house,' har-dee-har-har'd the guffawing Sister of Sanchez," the har-dee-har-har-ing Sister of Sanchez guffawed. Somewhat annoyed, Sanchez growls at Rock for using up absolutely every cheap and obvious joke about Jennifer Lopez's ass. Sanchez knows one thing for sure?the joke-writing staff on that awards show definitely ate a lot of bagels and read a lot of magazines that week.
The VMAs switched venues this year, from Radio City to the Metropolitan Opera House, mostly so they could put Tom Green in a scuba suit and make him swim in the fountain while announcing the 900 number for the viewer's choice award. A single vote went for 75¢. (Not incidentally, as the evening wore on, the Wookie and the Sister of Sanchez placed increasingly intense bets on who would win what. The Wookie lost every time, and rather than accept her $3 in cash, the Sister of Sanchez made her bitter, snarling friend call up the 900 number four times in a row.) The VMAs played the opera angle like a supermodel's birthmark; the show opened with a choir singing "Carmina Burana" and then clumsily segued into Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba," which nonhooked-on-phonics Sanchez can't pronounce for the life of him, and which every individual in the 200-odd member ensemble pronounced totally differently from one another. "'Awwww, just like snowflakes,' coos the eyelash-batting Sister of Sanchez,'" the eyelash-batting Sister of Sanchez cooed.
Kid Rock was the first performer of the evening, and his mini-medley-set was so jam-packed with celebrities it was like a funk-metal episode of The Love Boat?first Kid did Run-DMC's "King of Rock, then Run-DMC did Run-DMC's "Rock Box" (while clever Kid snuck off for a costume change, returning in a white fur coat, surrounded by Vegas showgirls with gigantic feather-fans), then Joe Perry and Steven Tyler entered from the back of the hall, strolled down the aisle onto the stage, and the whole gang did a "We Are The World" style funk-metal "Walk This Way."
After this performance, Chris Rock commented: "I guess DMX can't take Kid Rock's woman." Pondering Sanchez concludes this was meant as a compliment.
Sadly, the cheeks of Lopez were not an inexhaustible supply of super-funny-funny for Rock, so he dug into a shallow bag of isn't-whitey-like-so-ungroovy riffs. "What happened to all the cool white guys?" he asked, presumably rhetorically. Introducing Lars Ulrich, he said, "Here's something you don't see every day?a white guy that actually plays white music." Later, Rock introduced Susan Sarandon and Gavin Rossdale thusly: "She's a feminist icon, and he loves Bush." Still later, Rock called Ricky Martin "the Puerto Rican Al B. Sure" and advised the hipshaking sales juggernaut that "you better write another hit, or you'll be living la vida broke-a." Peculiarly, Tom Green?who must lie awake at night realizing that the day he actually becomes famous is the day his career as a baffling prankster is done?was one of the few actual MTV personalities present at the awards, other than MTV news pre- and postshow interviewers Kurt Loder, Serena Altschul (hired because her name is an ancient Teutonic dialect for "back in the days of the old school, MC battles were conducted with honor and respect," and also probably because Kurt looks like a big red-gray-ashy-puffy-skinned Weimar Republic version of a Today show host), and John Norris, the last of an ancient race of chipmunk people. Although, come to think of it, Carson Daly actually presented an award that evening, an extremely high station for a mere VJ to reach. But he is, after all, Carson Daly?if popular music were Paris in the 1920s, the Backstreet Boys would be Picasso, 'N Sync would be Hemingway and Carson would certainly be Gertrude Stein.
Awestruck Sanchez bows to superskilled kung fu master of self-promotion Will Smith. "Ten years ago, I received my first video music award, for a song called 'Parents Just Don't Understand.'" Smith paused to feign humility, then added, "It was actually the first time MTV had recognized hiphop with an award. And now it's my pleasure to bring out two parents who definitely do understand?the mothers of Tupac and B.I.G.!" And this was not the only spectacular trick of humility?Mike D makes the astonishingly humble admission that "hiphop...actually existed before us."
Ad-rock gave the Beasties' traditional political lecture this year, saying that he'd "read this stuff about Woodstock in the papers" and asked the audience to put their thinking caps on and figure out "what we can do as musicians to keep girls and women safe at our shows." Impressed Sanchez was wowed by Mr. Horowitz's display of folksiness?give the man a lasso and he would've been the Will Rogers of sexual harassment.
Heather Locklear presented an award with Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and Wes Borland. When Borland got to the mic he feigned a collapse on the podium. Durst, who seems increasingly annoyed with Borland's attention tactics, may be too polite to point out to his bandmate that no amount of artful buffoonery will dampen the media's fascination with the bottomless pit of goofballery that is?"'Dare he say it?!' shrieks the Sister of Sanchez," the Sister of Sanchez shrieked?the Durstmeister. Jay Mohr, presenting a list of International Viewers choice awardees with Renee Zellweger, drolly quipped, "I hear the biggest star in China's a guy named Rick Shaw." Brazil touted a hardcore band and MTV Russia chose Ricky Martin. Romantic Sanchez reminds you that taking your clothes off and dancing in the rain is a more emphatic love gesture in Vladivostok than, say, Fajardo.
Buddy Hackett delivered the most professional utterance of the phrase "And the nominees are...!" Peculiarly, he was paired with the trio of non-stars that is the cast of Blair Witch?so utterly nonfabulous that in the award show's initial montage-of-appearing-celebrities-photos, theirs just showed the logo from the movie posters. Later in the broadcast, Tommy Lee revealed he was naked under his trenchcoat. In a rather bumpy year for the trenchcoat industry, I'm sure London Fog found it a very sweet gesture.
Still later in the broadcast, super-irie Lauryn Hill was the first winner in Sanchez's memory to thank an MTV executive?Judy McGrath?and even though she read her thanks list off a piece of paper, she didn't thank God until she came back at the end to receive the Best Video of the Year award. Curious Sanchez wonders if Hill was simply superconfident and didn't want to thank the supreme being until she got the really big statuette, or whether Jehovah was B-listed?
The big quote kahuna unquote, of course, was Madonna. And she was in kind of a shitty mood, it seemed. She was sitting next to Maverick's Guy Oseary; reaction shots showed her positively glaring as Fatboy Slim got an award?Sanchez guesses "Ray of Light" didn't hit the big electronica jackpot, which no doubt pissed off the woman who invented the term?she called herself "Veronica Electronica" in a vignette in her book Sex. When she did get an award, for Best Video from a Film, she told some guy in the audience to "sit down, please." And then, at the end, when she entered after a procession of drag queens wearing every costume she'd worn in a performance at the VMAs over the years?to present Lauryn Hill her statuette with Paul McCartney?she seemed actually to get annoyed when the audience wouldn't stop showering her with love.
And then it was done. Supertactful John Norris?perhaps it is merely the custom of those from the planet of the chipmunk people to be direct?told Eminem, recipient of the Best New Artist in a Video award, that it was "traditionally...the kiss of death" for its winners' careers. "You know," Norris added, brightly, "that whole 'here-today-gone-tomorrow' thing?"
NEXT WEEK: The 15th-to-last Sanchez of the Millennium!