On September 6, 1989, MTV aired its 6th annual Video Music Awards–and while it was a relatively unmemorable event, history was made that night. The hottest comedian in the world at the time, Andrew Dice Clay, came out to introduce a live performance by Cher, but first he did about three minutes of stand-up.
In this three minutes, he managed to say at least three words that were banned from television at the time, coupled with his usual rampant misogynistic nursery rhymes. It was enough to get him banned from MTV “for life,” and force MTV to issue a statement of apology the following day. Now, Dice himself revealed in an interview last year that the ban was officially lifted in 2011, but it wouldn’t be the last time he’d court controversy on television. The episode of Saturday Night Live that he hosted in 1990 was boycotted by several people, and though rumors persisted that he was banned from that show as well, those rumors proved to be false.
There’s no denying that Dice’s material was a bit, well, dicey, but it’s pretty tame in comparison to what has happened on the VMAs in the 25 years since. Whether it’s Miley Cyrus twerking against Robin Thicke’s crotch while he’s dressed like Beetlejuice, or Kanye West making a martyr out of Taylor Swift, the VMAs have been the premiere place for people to do outrageous things. Check out Dice’s routine below, and see what would’ve gotten you tossed off MTV at the tail-end of the 80s…