VH1’S 40 GREATEST CELEBRITY FEUDS
By Harry Simon
Did anyone see VH1’s “40 Greatest
Celebrity Feuds” countdown? It’s a two-hour special hosted by Stone Cold and it’s well worth checking out.
Here’s their list, with my comments interspersed. If I don’t comment on a feud, it’s because I have no problem
with its placement on the list.
Before anyone starts, no, I really DON’T have anything better to do with my time.
Oh, and I probably misspelled half the celeb names on this list. Live with it.
40) Weird Al Yankovick vs. Coolio
Sean Young vs. Tim Burton
Too low. The bizarreness of Young going into business for herself puts this one in a class
38) Alyssa Milano vs. Shannen Doherty
37) Triumph vs. Pets.Com
36) Sharon Osborne
vs. Renee Tab
This is where things get fuzzy. Apparently, this wasn’t just celebrity-vs.-celebrity, but any feud
involving a celebrity. Renee WHO? (I know, I know, she was a Hollywood agent. I’m making a point here. Work with me,
35) Larry Flynt vs. Jerry Falwell
WAAAAAAAAAAY too low. This was CLASSIC every step of the way,
as well as actually being a significant First Amendment case.
34) Milton Berle vs. RuPaul
Somers vs. “Three’s Company” cast
Too low. Double-S pissed off the producers so bad, they actually
punished her on-air by sending her character to live with her mother and cutting her scenes down to one 60-second phone call
a week. That was pretty much unheard of for network TV.
32) Roger Ebert vs. Vincent Gallo
Dre vs. Eazy-E
Too low. Great feud between former best buddies, with the two taking some great shots at each other
via music video.
30) Howard Stern vs. Kathie Lee Gifford
29) Johnny Carson vs. Joan Rivers
Bruce Willis vs. Cybill Shepherd
27) Anna Nicole Smith vs. Marshall Family
26) Andy Kaufman vs. Jerry
Here’s where things stop making sense. Kaufman and Lawler never truly DISLIKED each other; all the others
did. True, their feud was entertaining as hell, but if worked feuds are eligible, just off the top of my head, I can name
half a dozen wrestling feuds that were more entertaining and/or did bigger box office than Kaufman-Lawler. You dare challenge
me? Fine. Behold: Austin vs. McMahon, Austin vs. Rock, WCW vs. nWo, Hogan vs. Sting, Raven vs. Dreamer, and Bret vs. Shawn
(which even happened to feature legit hatred between the guys, to boot). There are tons more, but you get the point. And I’ll
get to the biggest one momentarily.
25) Elton John vs. Tina Turner
24) Neil Young vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd
low. One of the greatest rock feuds EVER.
23) David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar
22) San Diego Chicken vs.
21) Bob Barker vs. Dian Parkinson
20) Vince Neil vs. Axl Rose
19) Eminem vs. Mariah Carey
Tom Selleck vs. Rosie O’ Donnell
17) Jay-Z vs. Nas
Too high. I didn’t think there could be
such a thing as a boring rapper feud, but here you have it. Look me in the eye and tell me this was a better feud than Dre
vs. Eazy. You’d be a damn dirty liar, you would.
16) Ludacris vs. Bill O’ Reilly
14) Madonna vs. Sandra Bernhard
13) Creed vs. Their Fans
12)Nancy Kerrigan vs.
Too low. This is Top 5 material. Classic heel-vs.-babyface (complete with Pearl Harbor attack!) that
led to their skate-off being one of the highest rated television programs ever.
11) Courtney Love vs. Nirvana
Mick Jagger vs. Keith Richards
9) Frank Sinatra vs. Sinead O’ Connor
8) David Letterman vs.
Too low. Another top-fiver for obvious reasons.
7) Tupac Shakur vs. Biggie Smalls
SEVEN??? These two KILLED each other! How the hell do you top that?! To me, this should have either been #1 or it shouldn’t
have been on the list at all.
6) Eminem vs. Triumph & Moby
Too high. And I’m the biggest Triumph
mark west of the Mississippi, too.
5) Michael Jackson vs. Paul McCartney
4) 50-Cent vs. Ja Rule
high, though you’ve gotta love the fact that Fitty invented a whole new word in “honor” of Ja. (“Wanksta.”)
Toby Keith vs. Dixie Chicks
2) Fred Durst vs. Britney Spears
WAY too high. This shouldn’t even
be in the top 20, let alone the runner-up spot. No feud that called a “truce” belongs in the Top 5.
David Lee Roth vs. Van Halen
Taking Pac-Biggie out of the equation, and this is a suitable number one, IMO.
Now for the omissions:
WWF vs. WCW. Call it McMahon vs. Bischoff,
McMahon vs. Turner, Raw vs. Nitro, Smackdown vs. Thunder, or whatever. This was a legit feud that lasted for years,
ignited a wrestling boom and had more twists and turns than one overbooked episode of NWA TNA. Leaving it off the list was
Sam Kinison vs. Andrew “Dice” Clay. Classic comedy feud. Before political
correctness ruined humor as we know it, these two pulled no punches and each played Howard Stern against the other like two
Madonna vs. Courtney Love. Since when does VH1 ever miss a chance to show footage
of a drugged-out Courtney harassing Madonna at a post-VMA interview?
Ice-T vs. Charlton Heston. Speaking
of footage VH1 loves to dust off, the bit where the NRA icon disgustedly reads the lyrics to “Cop Killer” is a
proud part of our nation’s pop culture history. “Die. Die. DIE PIG, DIE.” If they wanted a gratuitous right-winger-vs.-rapper
feud, they should have picked this instead of Ludacris vs. Bill O’ Reilly. Ice was a better, more influential rapper
than Ludacris, while Chuck has reached levels of conservatism that BOR can only dream of.
Suge Knight vs. Vanilla
Ice. Suge allegedly dangled Ice out over a balcony. Is it any wonder people respect and love Suge?
Sinatra vs. Phil Hartman. The Chairman didn’t appreciate PH’s send-up of him on SNL and used his (ahem)
connections to teach Phil a lesson; somehow screwing him out of his lucrative “Chester Cheetah” commercials. Yes
sir, Francis had him some major stroke.
Faith No More vs. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Similarly, the Peppers
screwed FNM out of a lucrative international tour, prompting FNM to fire back on one Halloween night in Michigan. FNM dressed
up as the Peppers (complete with needles sticking out of their arms) and FNM frontman Mike Patton proceeded to sing “Under
The Bridge” hilariously off-key. There was even a mock tombstone for dead former RHCP guitarist Hilel, with the epitaph,
“I can’t believe I died for this s***.”
Harlan Ellison vs. Gene Roddenberry. An
obscure feud, but an inspired one. For a while there, Ellison couldn’t even accept a writing award without launching
into a tirade about how “That asshole ruined it!” (Meaning the classic “Star Trek” episode written
by Harlan that Gene butchered.)
3rd Bass vs. Vanilla Ice. Remember 3B’s “Pop Goes The
Weasel” video? They were hating on Ice before the rest of us jumped on the bandwagon.
Kim Cattral vs.
Sarah Jessica Parker. Kinda like Alyssa Milano vs. Shannen Doherty, only with uglier women and more money involved.
Hammer vs. Sinead O’ Connor. Okay, maybe this one would be more like “Top 100” material, but it
still deserves a mention if only for the fact that Hammer offered to buy SOC a one-way ticket out of the country…and
she actually took him up on it. When baldie flew back home to wherever the hell it is she was spawned from, she sent Hammer
a bill for the plane ticket, which he happily paid. I don’t care what anyone says about Hammer, anyone who would help
usher Sinead out of the country gets my proverbial “props.”
James Gandolfini vs. HBO.
Tony held out for more money, risking one of the most profitable shows in history. (Imagine if Suzanne Somers’ power
play had worked.) Anyway, they kissed and made up, but not before a public battle saw HBO call their biggest cash cow a “greedy
pig” and file suit against him (which was eventually dropped). Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.
McDonald vs. NBC. Norm burned his bridge upon leaving the compost heap that was SNL. In retaliation, NBC refused
to air commercials for his movie “Dirty Work.” Hilarity ensued.
Hulk Hogan vs. Richard Belzer.
The most unbelievable feud of them all, if only because it contains the only known footage of Hulk Hogan using a wrestling
Dr. D vs. John Stossel. Do you even have to ask?
For some reason, they snubbed
Arsenio and his many feuds altogether.
Arsenio Hall vs. Jay Leno. When Leno took over “The Tonight
Show,” there was a famous magazine cover that showed Arsenio with a quote vowing, “I’m gonna kick Leno’s
ass.” He didn’t.
Arsenio Hall vs. Vanilla Ice. Better and more entertaining than Tom Selleck
vs. Rosie O’ Donnell. Arsenio’s own audience booed him at the start, but later turned on Vanilla and his empty
head. Special surreal cameo by Flava-Flav (I’m serious).
Arsenio Hall vs. Roseanne. Remember
Grossanne’s “Triangle Head” swipe? Ah, to be feuding comics in the 90s…
Stern vs. KLG was a no-brainer, but the KOAM has had many other noteworthy feuds.
Howard Stern vs.
Don Imus. Imus was a prick to Stern when both worked for NBC; eventually Stern wound up on another station and KILLED
Imus in the ratings for years.
Howard Stern vs. Rush Limbaugh. This was all the rage in the 90s. Loudmouth
Howard Stern vs. John DiBella. Stern took the art of celebrity feuding to a new level,
holding a public “funeral” for the Philadelphia “Zookeeper” when Stern’s show went to #1 in
Philly. A significant feud that laid the groundwork for all future Stern feuds to follow.
Howard Stern vs.
Mancow. Worth mentioning, if only because Mancow was a rare threat to Stern, beating him in a couple markets.
Stern vs. Chevy Chase. A strange, fun feud that kicked off when Chase trashed Stern during “Larry King Live,”
not realizing that people watching the show on satellite could hear what was said during commercial breaks. This lead to many
classic encounters between Chase and various Stern cronies, too.
Crony: “Chevy, after what happened with Phil
Hartman, are you afraid to let your wife near the gun cabinet?”
Chevy (furious): “Do you think that’s
funny? DO YOU THINK THAT’S FUNNY?!”
Crony: “I saw some of your movies, Chevy. I didn’t think
THEY were very funny.”
Other notable band breakups:
Poison vs. C.C. Deville.
A classic moment in live television when a pilled-to-the-gills CCD totally lost his mind during a live VMA and started playing
while the show was still at commercial. When they came back from the break, CCD immediately started playing the wrong song.
Then CCD purportedly got into a fistfight with frontman Bret Michaels backstage. CCD was unceremoniously ejected from the
Metallica vs. Dave Mustaine. “Dude, wake up. You’re fired. Your bus leaves in an
Motley Crue vs. Vince Neil. The Crue publicly fired Vince, chastising him for racing
stock cars when he should have been in the studio. They tried out another lead singer while Vince went solo. Both projects
flopped, causing everyone to come to their senses and get back together. Then they kicked out Tommy Lee, IIRC. Some people
Van Halen vs. Sammy Hagar. They included the two other VH wars; why not this one? Upon
becoming a solo artist again, the Red Rocker’s first release included a song called “Little White Lies,”
a swipe at the brothers Halen and um, the other guy.
They missed a whole heap of celebrity relationships gone
Tina Turner vs. Ike Turner. How in the HELL did they forget this?! Like Tina vs. Elton John
was more memorable or well-known. Eat the cake, Anna May!!
Madonna vs. Dennis Rodman. Gotta love a
guy who can find a way to offend Madonna.
Burt Reynolds vs. Loni Anderson. This divorce was uglier
than Burt’s toupee.
Geraldo Rivera vs. Bette Midler. Geraldo’s tell-all book boasted of
nailing Bette. Bette fired back by saying Geraldo was “lousy.” Fun feud, as long as you don’t actually have
to picture them doing the deed.
Mike Tyson vs. Robin Givens. Christ, who were you pulling for in THIS
Roseanne vs. Tom Arnold. Memorable if only for the SNL monologue where Rosie talked about getting
a shot at the doctor’s office. (“It was a little prick, just like having sex with Tom.”)
Allen vs. Mia Farrow. ‘Nuff said.