The 2010 VMA Countdown: Eddie Murphy Hits The Streets, Searches For Relief

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards are only a month away. The biggest party of the year features nominated clips by Lady Gaga, Drake, Eminem, Jay-Z, Ke$ha and Katy Perry and will feature performances by Kanye West, Drake and Florence and the Machine (with many more to be announced). In order to properly prepare yourself for what’s to come, every day the MTV Newsroom Blog will deliver a classic moment in the history of the MTV Video Music Awards. Today’s installment: Eddie Murphy explores the bowels of Radio City Music Hall.

Over the course of its history, the Video Music Awards have always prided themselves on playing fast and loose. Awards shows tend to be stodgy, overly-staged affairs, but the VMAs have consistently thrown the rule book out the window. Want to take the show outside? Not a problem. Want to spread it all around Las Vegas? Been there, done that. Want to scale the set during somebody’s acceptance speech? We don’t encourage that, but yeah, it happened.

That freewheeling spirit started from the beginning, and was made clear in the early days. Way back in 1985, rising star Eddie Murphy took on the hosting duties following a string of huge successes (“48 Hrs.,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” the stand-up special “Delirious”) that had allowed him to make the transition from “Saturday Night Live” standout to Hollywood superstar. Murphy didn’t want to remain confined to the stage of New York’s Radio City Music Hall, so he constantly headed out into the crowd, through the bathrooms (including a memorable trip to the ladies room, where he surprised a number of guests) and outside the building in search of a co-host. Murphy set the precedent for being an excellent host, as he was funny, fast, friendly, unpredictable and ultimately game for anything.

What are your favorite VMA moments? Let us know in the comments!

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12 at 9 p.m. ET.