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Top 20 Celebrities Who Lost it on Live TV

Top 20 Celebrities Who Lost it on Live TV
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
These celebrity freak outs on live TV will leave your jaw on the floor. For this list, we'll be looking at both the times famous people lost their cool or at least appeared to freak out in front of the world. Our countdown includes Floyd Mayweather Fights Back, Sinéad O'Connor Rips the Pope's Picture, Asia Davies vs. Cardi B, Nicolas Cage Goes Nuts, Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock, and more!

#20: Sam Jackson Gets Confused for Laurence Fishburne

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Top 10 Celebrities Who Lost It On Live TV

“KTLA Morning Show” (1991-) KTLA anchor Sam Rubin welcomed actor Samuel L. Jackson via satellite for what could have been a normal interview. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until the newscaster asked Jackson about his recent Super Bowl commercial. Since that particular ad actually starred Lawrece Fishburne, Jackson immediately started dunking on the anchor for his egregious gaffe. Although the movie star had been brought on to talk about his film “Robocop,” this error made him focus more on dishing out a verbal beatdown. Even after they started speaking about the movie, the actor took an opportunity to pivot back to the mistake. The thoroughly embarrassed Rubin will probably never forget this mixup.

#19: Floyd Mayweather Fights Back

“SportsCenter” (1979-) In 2009, boxer Floyd Mayweather was undefeated and ready to talk about his career for a "Sportscenter" interview. Unfortunately, host Brian Kenny struck a nerve with Mayweather right away. The boxer took umbrage with Kenny’s assertion that he was a former number one. But that was only round 1 of this painful interview. Throughout the conversation, Mayweather ducked the many of the presenter’s most biting questions. And when he wasn’t directly answering, the boxer was ready to verbally spar with Kennny at every point. The anchor’s attempts to take control of the interview only lead to more chaos. By the time their conversation ended, it’s clear that Mayweather had dominated another tense matchup.

#18: Ben Affleck Debates Bill Maher & Sam Harris

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“Real Time with Bill Maher” (2003-) During an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host and author Sam Harris got to talking about Islam. When they started making critical statements and broad generalizations about the Muslim religion, an angry Ben Affleck stepped in. The famous actor kept challenging the host and the author not to see everyone who believes in the faith in one negative way. As Affleck threw out statistics and made impassioned arguments, he only grew angrier. Although he tried to stay silent, he jumped back in whenever another broad characterization of the faith was made. Ultimately, this moment went viral for the performer’s forceful presence in a tense debate.

#17: Andy Kaufman Gets Slapped

“Late Night with David Letterman” (1982-93) Comedian Andy Kaufman’s appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” was the stuff of legend. Prior to the interview, Kaufman lost a match so badly against professional wrestler Jerry Lawler that the funnyman had to wear a neck brace. Letterman thought it would be a great idea to bring them both together on his show. However, they both got heated during the course of this joint interview. After their conversation reached a fever pitch, Lawler struck Kaufman. The comedian later stormed back on set to shout many profanities and toss at least one drink. It was eventually revealed that the whole confrontation was staged. However, this freak out still represented one of the most talked about moments in talk show history.

#16: Sinéad O’Connor Rips the Pope’s Picture

“Saturday Night Live” (1975-) Sinéad O’Connor appeared on “Saturday Night Live” for the second time in 1992. During this appearance, she performed an acapella version of Bob Marley’s song “War.” O’Connor finished the stirring cover in shocking fashion by ripping up a picture of Pope John Paul II. She also made a comment that referenced the Catholic Church’s scandals. After O’Connor made this controversial statement, she faced a ton of backlash. “SNL” also banned her from returning to the show at all. Decades after the incident, interviews with the singer confirmed that she had no regrets about ripping up that photo.

#15: Kanye’s Rant on Ellen

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“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-22) Over the years, Kanye West has become a celebrity who is often outspoken at the most unexpected times. His interview with Ellen DeGeneres was yet another example of him talking without a filter. After answering a few questions and letting some colorful language slip, West decided to let everyone in on all the things on his mind. He covered a wide range of topics from his career aspirations to his spirituality. Kanye’s detour goes on for so long that parts of it didn’t even make it to the episode. While DeGeneres managed to take back control, the show was completely in his hands for a while. Ye never returned to the talk show after this appearance.

#14: Mike Tyson Drops a Few F-Bombs

“UPN9/WWOR” (1999) Note to journalists everywhere: be careful how you phrase your questions to Mike Tyson in an interview. The heavyweight champ got a reputation as a brilliant fighter who has little patience for anyone who upsets him. When presenter Russ Salzberg asked about Tyson’s upcoming bout in one infamous interview, the boxer immediately dropped a word that the censors wouldn't like. Although the interviewer tried to reign in the fighter’s language and focus on the upcoming event, it was already far too late. Tyson continued to curse until Salzberg moved to end the discussion. Unfortunately for the station, the boxer got a few last words in as the segment ended.

#13: Asia Davies vs. Cardi B

“Love & Hip-Hop: New York” (2010-) Even before the "Love & Hip-Hop: New York" reunion show aired, tensions were simmering between rapper Cardi B and her cast member Asia Davies. Their conflict finally boiled over in front of a live studio audience. Without warning, Cardi B launched a shoe at Davies. The stage quickly erupted into chaos right after the footwear was launched. After a few tense moments, the crew put distance between the women. But their conversation didn’t get much better. When Davies hit another nerve, Cardi B tried to lunge towards her rival again before security stepped in. Putting these two in the same room was a recipe for disaster and infamous tv.

#12: Vince McMahon vs. Bob Costas

“On the Record with Bob Costas” (2001-04) WWE chairman Vince McMahon co-created the alternative football league called the XFL. Its first and only season was marred in controversy, poor ratings, and criticism from other sports broadcasters like Bob Costas. Costas welcomed McMahon onto his “On the Record” show to address his plan for the league. By the end of the interview, it had devolved into a series of vague threats from the wrestling boss. He leaned forward and pointed in the host’s face for extra emphasis. Not only did the outburst hurt the CEO’s reputation, it signaled the end of the XFL.

#11: Nicki Minaj Confronts Miley Cyrus

“32nd Video Music Awards” (2015) Nicki Minaj accepted the award for “Best Hip-Hop Video” at the 2015 VMAs. Instead of ending her speech with a “thank you,” she took aim at the show’s host, Mily Cyrus. Minaj claimed that the singer had disrespected her in an interview. After winning a moonman, the rapper wasn’t afraid to let the host know how she felt. Her stern change of tone sucked all the air right out of the room. Instead of escalating the situation, Cyrus tried to downplay the incident and keep the show rolling. While it’s debatable if that was the most shocking part of the VMA’s that year, it was definitely the point where Minaj made her feelings known.

#10: Crispin Glover Almost Kicks Dave

“Late Night with David Letterman” (1982-93) Crispin Glover’s unique and idiosyncratic behavior has led to him being at the center of several shocking incidents. One appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman” demonstrated his ability to shock and induce laughter in equal parts. Glover took the stage in a wig and costume that may or may not have been a complete joke. Letterman played along with the actor’s strange performance as best he could. However, the host lost his patience after Glover unleashed his best high kick. After cutting the segment short, Letterman returned without the actor sitting next to him. The host made it known that he wasn’t a fan of how the interview went down.

#9: Jim Everett Gets His Revenge

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“Talk2” (1993-98) Quarterback Jim Everett appeared as a guest on Jim Rome's "Talk2" sports program. The host made a joke by calling the athlete "Chris," referring to the tennis player Chris Everett. The guest leaned in and warned Rome about calling him the name again. However, the presenter decided to push his luck and make the lame joke one more time. Everett promptly leapt at his interviewer and knocked him to the ground. After the incident, the host regretted how he had treated his guest. In the immediate aftermath, Everett doubled down and expressed his negative feelings towards Rome.

#8: Joan Rivers Storms Off

“CNN” (1980-) During a CNN interview, this legendary comedian didn’t exactly get along with her interviewer Fredricka Whitfield. Joan Rivers was initially okay with being asked about her fashion opinions and comedy. But the conversation got incredibly awkward after Whitefield questioned the “Fashion Police” star about wearing fur. Feeling that the discussion had gotten too negative, Rivers didn’t hold back her true feelings. After railing at the line of questioning, she decided to make an early exit. Whitfield was left stunned after Rivers cut the interview off. While the comedian wasn’t afraid to talk about other controversial topics, fur was clearly a subject she didn’t want to touch that day.

#7: Bobcat Trashes Arsenio’s Set

“The Arsenio Hall Show” (1989-94) Bobcat Goldthwait took his crazy comic persona to a whole new level when he made an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show”. The eccentric performer spray-painted the set and treated the stage like a wrestling ring. Protesting the show's untimely demise, the comedian destroyed the space in support of the host. It also deserved mentioning how the emcee maintained his trademark cool all the way through the segment. There weren't many hosts that could stay positive and focused for this kind of crazy interview. Even if it was all for fun, the performer still startled everyone with his behavior. Goldthwait’s performance art brought Arsenio Hall's original run to a surprising end.

#6: Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve Disaster

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“Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve” (2017) During the 2017 New Year's Eve festivities, Mariah Carey's act didn't go as planned. While trying to deliver a concert, audio problems threw the performance for a loop. The issues caused Carey to publicly criticize the technical failures as the event continued. Although she initially tried to continue, the singer couldn’t regain her mojo. Carey alternated between complaining and walking through the motions until she couldn’t stand it anymore. No matter what caused the issues that she faced that night, it was clear that she couldn’t recover from what happened behind the scenes.

#5: Nicolas Cage Goes Nuts

“Wogan” (1982-92) Nicolas Cage emerged in the 1980s as one of the most entertaining performers in movie history. On the "Wogan" talk show, he proved that he can be just as wild in person as he can on the silver screen. He quickly showed off acrobatic and martial moves shortly after his arrival. Cage also made it rain with dollar bills for the audience. However, Cage wasn't done either. He later removed his shirt and kept it up for the remainder of the interview. Although this appearance was in line with his energetic public persona, the actor later acknowledged that it was a bit over-the-top. He would later channel some of the energy from this interview in his meta role for “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”.

#4: Charlie Sheen is “Winning”

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“Good Morning America” (1975-) After Charlie Sheen openly ran into issues with substance use, got into legal troubles and engaged in a few public feuds, he lost his job on "Two and a Half Men." The actor decided to discuss his troubles in an interview with "Good Morning America." What could’ve been a normal discussion quickly became an infamous conversation. During the interview, Sheen gives surprisingly casual answers about serious questions. He also delivered a number of…unique words and phrases that would later be parodied and made into memes. After this troubling and chaotic interview, no one would look at Sheen quite the same way.

#3: Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock

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“94th Academy Awards” (2022) Will and Jada Pinkett Smith sat front row as comedian Chris Rock took the stage at the 94th Academy Awards. During one part of the comedian’s bit, he joked about the actress' shaved head. Although Will Smith initially laughed at the joke, his demeanor quickly changed. He shocked everyone by proceeding to get up and slap Rock. After returning to his seat, Smith unleashed a few bleep-worthy threats. While some initially thought it was a big joke, it was soon revealed that the entire incident was incredibly real. The incident felt even more surreal when Smith won the best actor award later. Although it should’ve been a celebration of a great achievement, his actions cast a long shadow over his win.

#2: Kanye Snubs Taylor

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“26th MTV Video Music Awards” (2009) Every MTV fan remembers where they were when Kanye West spoke out during the 2009 VMA’s. It all started when Taylor Swift beat out Beyoncé for best female video of the year. During Swift's acceptance speech, Kanye took the stage, stole the mic and protested the decision. Everybody at home and in the audience was completely stunned by the rapper’s actions. The incident was highly covered by news outlets and even prompted a response from President Obama. In the years since the interruption, West and Swift publicly clashed several more times. But it’s doubtful that any dispute could reach the heights of infamy that the VMA incident did.

#1: Tom Cruise Jumps on Oprah’s Couch

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“The Oprah Winfrey Show” (1986-2011) During the promotional tour of "War of the Worlds," action star Tom Cruise stopped by the talk show to discuss the movie. However, the conversation quickly shifted to his relationship with Katie Holmes. While Cruise tried to contain his excitement about her, he eventually couldn’t reign in his emotions. It all builds up to the moment where the only way he could fully convey his true feelings was by jumping on top of Oprah’s couch. This infamous leap has been parodied and referenced to death since it aired. Although Cruise split with Holmes later on, this interview moment will likely forever be remembered as one of the wildest celeb interviews.

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