We’re live in three, two, one…action! Sometimes you have to wonder why live television is even an industry anymore since there are so few things that can actually go right. Needless to say, for every one thing that can go right, there are hundreds more that can go wrong. It makes sense, then, for many programs that air live to opt for a delay so that anything inappropriate can quickly be fixed. But, some moments simply slip through the cracks much to the producer’s dismay!
Between nudity and swearing to someone hurting themselves, live television has given audiences countless moments that are awkward for everyone involved, sometimes even those watching at home! Regardless of what happens, you can’t help but feel sorry for the person on television who suffers through an embarrassing moment as the world watches helplessly. But, that isn’t to say that these moments aren’t funny after all is said and done!
Out of the thousands of awkward moments captured on live television, we found 10 of our favorite and most awkward moments that are sure to leave you cringing and even laughing. From lip syncing and balloon rides to wardrobe malfunctions and physical injury, we’ve covered it all so sit back, relax and get ready to laugh!
#10 – Samuel L. Fishburne?
Ranked as the highest all-time box office star, Samuel L. Jackson is easily one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. But, after watching this interview, you might not know it! Doing a press circuit for RoboCop, Jackson appeared on the KTLA morning show when he was asked by the entertainment reporter if he was excited about working with Marvel for The Avengers as well as about his reaction to his Super Bowl Commercial. No big deal, right?
Well, it wouldn’t have been if Jackson had actually done a Super Bowl Commercial. Instead, the reporter confused Jackson with Laurence Fishburne who reprised his role from The Matrix in the ad. As they say, “The show must go on”, and it did but it only got more and more awkward. Berating the reporting for his error, Jackson said “You’re the entertainment reporter for this station and you don’t even know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne. There must be a very short line for your job…” From the verbal beating by Jackson to the scolding from his network, this poor reporter was definitely humiliated!
#9 – I Quit
To legalize or not, that is the great debate! The legalization of marijuana is a big topic in the United States as there is seemingly a growing contingent on the side of legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes. With the upcoming election and the widespread coverage of hot topics like marijuana, it’s no surprise that KTVA, a news station in Anchorage, Alaska, jumped on board for the discussion.
In a report about the increased use of marijuana in the state, news reporter Charlo Greene couldn’t help but interject her own opinion. Revealing herself as the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, Greene shared her fight for the legalization of medical marijuana and notified viewers that she was leaving KTVA to focus all her time and energy on the club. Ending her speech with “F*** it, I quit”, the camera was forced to cut to Greene’s co-anchor who was left tripping over her words straight into a commercial break.
#8 – Balloon Boy Interview
Up, up and away! The nation turned their attention to Fort Collins, Colorado on October 15, 2009 when the Heene family thought they lost one of their children after they released a helium balloon into the atmosphere. The family claimed that Falcon, their six-year-old son, was in the balloon, which was traveling through the skies. As the balloon floated over 50 miles away with helicopters on the chase, authorities soon discovered that Falcon was not in the balloon after all.
Happily found hiding in the family’s attic, Falcon told authorities, his family and the media that he had been there the entire time and had, at one point, even fallen asleep. But, the whole truth finally came out when the family sat down with Wolf Blitzer on “Larry King Live”. When asked why he didn’t come out from the attic, Falcon admitted to the world that he was told to “do it for the show.” Obviously taken aback and attempting to cover his son’s truth, Mr. Heene opened himself up to further investigation leading to jail time and hefty fines for what’s known as the Balloon Boy hoax.
#7 – Martin Short Reminded of Tragedy
A big name in comedy for more than three decades now, Martin Short has made audiences around the world laugh with his stellar performances in “Saturday Night Live”, The Three Amigos, Father of the Bride and countless other films and television shows. In May 2012, Short was going through the usual interview circuit to promote his upcoming film, Madagascar 3, when he sat down with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of “The Today Show”.
To most, the interview seemed to go well as Short came off as very friendly and humble but, the truth was, Gifford messed up terribly. Gifford congratulated Short on his son’s recent college graduation and then moved on to talk about his marriage of 36 years to Nancy Dolman. While trying to get the scoop on how the couple made their marriage last in Hollywood, Gifford failed to realize that Nancy had passed away two years prior from ovarian cancer. Short, with great poise and dignity, answered politely and waited until commercial to correct Gifford’s mistake.
#6 – Sinead O’Connor’s Protest
Irish singer Sinead O’Connor was the talk of the music world after the release of her hit song, “Nothing Compares 2 U”. With growing popularity, O’Connor was asked to join “Saturday Night Live” as the show’s musical guest on October 3, 1992. Unfortunately, O’Connor’s debut would also be her last after the singer proved to have a hidden agenda.
Choosing to sing Bob Marley’s “War” acapella, O’Connor’s performance only grew in intensity as she pulled out a picture of Pope John Paul II and proceeded to rip it to shreds. In her obvious protest of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, O’Connor not only shocked audiences, she nearly gave Rick Ludwin, Vice President of Late Night Programming, a heart attack. Needless to say, O’Connor was never asked to return to the show and has since been placed on the lifetime ban list. Probably, a smart choice.
#5 – Ashlee Simpson Lip Syncs
Speaking of awkward musical performances on “Saturday Night Live”…not even Ashlee Simpson could avoid embarrassment! Though Simpson’s performance wasn’t nearly as shocking as Sinead O’Connor’s, it was definitely far more embarrassing and awkward. You probably even remember Simpson leaving the stage!
As the younger sister of pop star sensation Jessica Simpson, Ashlee was trying to make a name for herself in the music industry. In October 2004, Simpson was invited to “SNL” when she wowed audiences with her first performance of “Pieces of Me”. Unfortunately, her second performance of “Autobiography” fell short. Introduced by guest host Jude Law, Simpson was already on stage when the vocals began to play. As her band played the instrumental from the previous song, Simpson was obviously confused and danced awkwardly before walking off stage. Simpson, unlike O’Connor, has since been invited back to “SNL” to face the music once again.
#4 – Making Wine
Wine a little, you’ll feel better! One of the first viral videos on YouTube occurred in 2007 when Melissa Sander, a news reporter from FOX 5 in Atlanta, Georgia, went on live television in a report from the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort. In true “I Love Lucy” fashion, the reporter stepped into a bucket of grapes in what became a grape stomping competition with her interviewee. The only problem: Sander was the only one who felt it was a contest.
Signaling for a break, Sander attempted to get ahead of her guest as she continued stomping faster and faster. But, karmas had other plans. Losing her footing, Sander fell over the bucket, off the stage and onto the ground where she made hilariously awkward noises and groans of pain. The camera quickly cut back to the studio to Sander’s two surprised colleagues who stifled smirks with “Oh no, I think she’s actually hurt.” A fracture later, we hope Sander learned a lesson in more than just wine!
#3 – Kanye Crashes Taylor
Kanye is a jerk! What’s new? Much like the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, fans around the country tune in to watch their favorite musicians on MTV’s Video Music Awards. With artists like Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne, it’s no surprise that the VMA’s make for some pretty interesting entertainment, especially since it’s shown on live television. Heck, just this year alone we saw more of Miley Cyrus than anyone ever cared.
Aside from the Miley debacle, the most awkward moment on the VMA’s will forever belong to Kanye West and Taylor Swift. During the 25th annual show in 2009, Swift won the Best Female Video award for “You Belong With Me” and was just getting into her acceptance speech when West rudely interrupted. Proving his status as the world’s biggest jerk, West told the audience “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!” Obviously stunned by the slap in the face, Swift had nothing to worry about as fans rallied in support after Beyonce took home Video of the Year.
#2 – Al Capone’s Vault
One of the most notorious gangsters of all time, Al Capone’s life was shrouded in mystery even long after his death in 1947. By 1986, rumors of the gangster’s life had spread especially one regarding a secret vault hidden underneath the Lexington Hotel in New York City. But, how could the media prove the rumors were true?
Fired from ABC in 1985, Geraldo Rivera was desperate to get back into the media’s good graces and believed that Capone’s vault was his best shot. In a live two-hour broadcast on April 21, 1986 of “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults”, the world watched as Rivera and a crew of contractors entered the vault expecting to find treasures, drugs, guns and more. Instead, Rivera was met with a dirt floor and empty bottles. With disappointment for the world to see, Rivera had little left to lose and wrapped up the broadcast with a song. All was not lost, however, as this awkward moment has thankfully lived on in parody, including a special debut on “The Simpsons”.
#1 – Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Mishap
A wardrobe malfunction or not? Every year, fans anxiously await to find out who will headline the halftime show of the Super Bowl and 2004 proved to be no different. The 38th Championship was a battle between the NFL’s New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers with a halftime show featuring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake that was sure to rock the crowd like never before.
With thousands in attendance at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas and millions more watching at home, the performance between Jackson and Timberlake was epic, at least until the end. As the pair made their way across the stage to end the song, Timberlake reached up and ripped off a piece of Jackson’s outfit, exposing her right breast on live television. The “oops!” led to a variety of FCC regulations and prompted Super Bowl broadcasts to be on a slight delay to save young eyes from another X-rated viewing. Of course, the moment was already long caught on camera and quickly became the most replayed moment in television history!