Kevin Hart & VMA Hosts
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart is set to host the VMAs on Thursday, following in the footsteps of such stars as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Jimmy Fallon. Hart, 32, has amassed a lot of credits in recent years, including Modern Family, Think Like A Man and the last two Scary Movie movies, but the VMA gig promises to be a profile-raising assignment. Hart will be just the 15th person in VMA history to serve as the show's sole host.
Arsenio Hall hosted the show four times, more than anyone else. Chris Rock is second with three hosting gigs. Dennis Miller and Russell Brand each hosted twice.
Rock is easily the best host in the show's history. You could call him the Billy Crystal of the VMAs. Rock hosted in 1997, 1999 and 2003. (He graduated to hosting the Oscars in 2005.) Rock always came armed with material that was both funny and pointed.
In 1997, he made note of the massive sales rung up by that year's hottest act, Spice Girls, and said "10 million records sold, I can't find one person that will admit to buying one… Spice Girls are kind of like heroin. You know somebody's doing it, but nobody admits it."
That 1997 show aired just six months after The Notorious B.I.G. was shot to death, and about a year after 2Pac was killed. "Rap's out of control," Rock said. "We got the whole East Coast/West Coast thing, killing each other. What the hell is going on? They ain't had nothing like that in the old days. You never heard about Smokey Robinson shooting down the Temptations; Gladys Knight squashing out Patti LaBelle's eyes. No, you never had that."
Rock was even more pointed in the 2003 show, in which he mocked American Idol and its judges. "Paula Abdul judging a singer is like getting (quadriplegic) Christopher Reeve to judge a dance contest. It ain't right. It ain't right."
Rock and Miller both rose to fame on Saturday Night Live. Five other VMA hosts also got their starts on SNL: Dan Aykroyd, who co-hosted the first show in 1984; Eddie Murphy (1985); Dana Carvey (1992); Ben Stiller (1998); and Jimmy Fallon (2002).