How do we love celebrities? Let us count the ways. We love them beautiful, talented, funny, empowered, woke, and silly. But more than anything else, we love them drunk. Heck, Jennifer Lawrence has helped build her brand by sharing extraordinary tales of booze-soaked antics, and those tales have endeared her to millions.
We will forever cherish a celebrity who willingly shares a good “one too many vodka sodas” story — but there is another level of celebrity drunkenness that is much rarer. We’re talking about the drunk celebrity public appearance, and specifically when that public appearance involves some broadcasted stage time. It happens somewhat infrequently, but when it does, it’s magical. In these moments, we are offered a glimpse at something purer, something raw. The person behind the facade. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always very real. So raise a glass in celebration of these incredible moments from drunk celebrity history.
1. Fergie vs. Armie Hammer, Tom Ford, the Trevor Project, and the World
Earlier this month, Fergie crashed the stage at the TrevorLive Gala, a charity fundraiser put on by the Trevor Project. Out of nowhere she appeared, startling the unnaturally handsome actor Armie Hammer, who was speaking on stage. Likely knowing he was powerless to stop a train wreck, Hammer stepped aside and let Fergie have the mic. Cue four minutes of the most awkward, desperate, and obviously alcohol-soaked shenanigans you’ll ever witness. (Poor Tom Ford.) It’s actually a marvel in that it continues to get more embarrassing as it goes on. Come for Fergie promoting her latest single “with shame,” and stay for Armie Hammer subtly trying to scoot his 6-foot-five-inch frame off stage. (Note: The video unfortunately cuts off just as Fergie begins singing, due to her team removing full versions of the clip. If you can track down the second part of this vid, though, we promise you it’s worth it.)
2. Mariah Carey Sets the Bar (Get It?) for Drunk Acceptance Speeches
The year was 2010. Mariah Carey took the stage at the Palm Springs International Film Festival to accept an award for Breakthrough Actress (for Precious) with Lee Daniels at her side. A happy occasion, to be sure. Also: a very, very, very drunk occasion. Not only is this one of the most famous drunk celebrity speeches, it is also one of the longest. Mariah has always been a diva who knows how to hold court, and hold court she does as she runs through the gamut of drunk clichés: half-finished sentences, slurred speech, laughing at her own remarks, referencing inscrutable inside jokes, and demanding that people clap for her.
3. Anna Nicole Smith Really, Really, Really Loves Kanye West
At the 2004 Billboard Music Awards, our dearly departed Anna Nicole Smith sauntered onto the stage to introduce a performance by Kanye West. Her speech begins, “Like my body?” and goes further off the rails from there. Eventually, she gets around to introducing Kanye, although by that point, it was clear who the main attraction of the evening really was.
4. Elizabeth Taylor vs. The Golden Envelope
There is much joy to be had in watching this clip of a 68-year-old Elizabeth Taylor drunkenly attempt to announce the nominees for Best Drama at the 2001 Golden Globes. There is even more joy to be had in watching her try to announce the winner: “And the winner is… and it’s flashing ‘envelope?’” Of all the videos in this list, this might make us the happiest. It doesn’t make us embarrassed for Taylor; instead, it makes us want to get drunk with her.
5. Sam Smith: The First Openly Gay Man to Get Drunk
When Sam Smith won the Oscar, it was not immediately apparent that he was drunk. (It was, however, immediately apparent that the Oscar should have gone to Lady Gaga and Diane Warren, but we digress.)
But during his brief speech, Smith claimed he was the first openly gay man to win an Oscar, a statement that is in no way true. (Elton John says hi.) After being raked over the coals, Smith apologized, claiming that he had been drunk at the time. It smacks a bit of PR spin, but true or not, it is the kind of mangled statement a person might make after having one too many shots. Therefore, we kinda buy it.
6. P!nk Gets the Party Started at the VMAs
P!nk took the VMAs stage in 2002 to accept the Moonman for Best Female Pop Video and was, in her own words, “too drunk for this.” All said and done, her tipsy speech is more controlled and self-aware than sloppy, although the “That’s my entourage. I always wanted to be a rapper!” line is sufficiently cringeworthy.
7. Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift, the Video Music Awards, and the World
We all know the story: While Taylor Swift was accepting the award for Best Female Video at the 2009 VMAs, Kanye West ran on stage, took the microphone — “I’mma let you finish!” — and declared that the award should have gone to Beyoncé. It was the interruption heard round the world. Both Kanye and Taylor are still writing songs about it. Most people’s initial reaction was that Kanye was just being Kanye, but the truth is Kanye was seen taking swigs of Hennessy on the red carpet before the show. To his credit, Kanye never blamed his stunt on alcohol, even if it was likely a factor. And that, dear readers, is how you make (probably) drunk history.
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