The 2010 VMA Countdown: RuPaul And Milton Berle Make Everybody Squirm

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards are only a few weeks away. The biggest party of the year features nominated clips by Lady Gaga, Eminem, Jay-Z, Ke$ha and Katy Perry and will feature performances by Kanye West, Eminem, Drake, Justin Bieber, Paramore, Usher, B.o.B, Florence and the Machine and Linkin Park. 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: Milton Berle and RuPaul make an uncomfortable tag team.

There were a handful of big winners at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards. They included Pearl Jam (who won a bunch of awards for “Jeremy” and who also performed twice — once premiering the Vs. track “Animal” and once with Neil Young on “Rockin’ in the Free World”), Snoop Dogg (who made a public appearance even though he was wanted by the police at the time; he slipped out of the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles undetected but later turned himself in) and En Vogue (who took home a trio of Moonmen for their clip for “Free Your Mind”).

But there were some definite losers that night as well, and they began with strange bedfellows Milton Berle and RuPaul. Berle, a television legend, did not get along with the cross-dressing Ru prior to their appearance on stage, and that animosity bubbled over once they walked out. Berle groped Ru’s breasts, to which Ru responded bitingly “So you used to wear gowns, but now you’re wearing diapers” (referencing Berle’s occasional cross-dressing during his heyday). The veteran comedian snapped back, “Oh, we’re going to ad lib? I’ll check my brain and we’ll start even.” It was one of the most uncomfortable moments in VMA history, right up there with Fiona Apple’s acceptance speech and Michael Jackson’s smooch for then-wife Lisa Marie Presley. But it’s still talked about today, further proof that sometimes a little dramatic tension goes an awfully long way.

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.