The thing about getting owned is that you can never think of an immediate comeback.
Annoyingly, an idea pops up two days later when you are taking a shower, when it’s too late to retaliate. By then, no one cares about what you have to say because people are mean and they like to see you getting served.
These incidents happen on live TV: a guest is invited to a show; the guest gets annoyed by the questions, or the interviewer gets corky, and things turn sour. Then hilarity ensues. Sometimes, things get so ugly that there is hardly any room for a chuckle.
Interviewers get owned time and again. The shutdowns can sometimes be so savage that the host will be left feeling embarrassed and irrelevant.
For example, there was that interview that Bill O’Reilly had with the son of a 9/11 victim who opposed the American invasion of Afghanistan. O’Reilly wanted to take him to the woodshed (for his views), but the young man remained as he pissed off one of America’s most vocal commentators. O’Reilly got so mad that he began ranting and had to end the interview prematurely.
A similar interview was between Nancy Grace and Elizabeth Smart: a young lady who had been abducted when she was fourteen. Smart had agreed to come to Grace’s show to help promote a new sex offender bill, but Grace remained insensitive to her feelings the entire time by asking inane questions about her abduction.
She eventually called her out, and things got a little awkward.
Let’s look at 15 other interviews where the host was shut down:
15. MILA KUNIS HITS THE FAN IN RUSSIA WHILE ‘DEFENDING’ JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
A reporter asked why Justin had decided to move from music to movies. Her question, which was in Russian, suggested that Justin had a ton of money and did not need to be in the movies. It was plain rude, according to Russian speaking individuals.
Although Justin did not seem offended by the reporter, Mila had to step in because Justin wouldn’t get the translation of the tone or understand the nuances of the language; something Kunis did. Kunis was bothered because the reporter had asked the question rudely and offensively, apparently. As someone who is fluent in Russia and all of its nuances and subtexts, she picked something up and saw fit to put the interviewer in her place. The reporter was indirectly claiming that JT was greedy. Kunis shut her down by commenting that it was his decision and not that of the audience.
14. ROBERT DOWNEY JR CALMLY WALKS OUT ON KRISHNAN GURU-MURTHY
Robert Downey Jr. had visited London to promote Avengers: Age of Ultron and was being interviewed by Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Channel 4 News.
However, the questions took a different turn when Krishnan started delving into Robert’s troubled past, more specifically a time when he served a prison sentence for drug offenses. Things began to heat up.
Guru went on and even asked if Robert would ‘accommodate’ more personal questions. He asked Robert about the relationship with his dad, and Robert could not take any further questioning. Robert snapped and asked Guru what they were doing. He then casually walked out of the interview and left everyone baffled.
During the entire time, Robert had evidently tried to steer the conversation towards clearer waters, but Guru insisted on being a jerk. RDJ was then chose to walk out with a smile before Guru got the better of him. He chose to act like a gentleman even though he had the opportunity to fire back and cause a scene.
13. JIMMY FALLON: “CAN YOU READ?”… FINN WOLFHARD: “CAN YOU HOST?”
So, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, and Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, a horror/sci-fi show on Netflix made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show. They were mostly talking about the show, including a kissing scene between Eleven and Mike from season one.
They then played a game where they took turns to read random secrets about each one of them and sprayed whoever they thought the mystery was about. As the game progressed, Jimmy asked: “Can you read?” Then Finn answered, “Can you host?”
Boom! After the vicious tackle, Finn covered his mouth in shock because he had realized how brutal his answer had been. It was probably one of Finn’s most savage moments in 2016 and the way he covered his mouth made the shutdown more hilarious.
12. GORDON RAMSAY TO REPORTER: “I THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE AN INTELLIGENT INTERVIEW.”
Ramsay is a man who is obsessed with cooking and being brutally honest. That is why he did not take it lying down when a reporter criticized him about a steak that was apparently overcooked and felt like rubber.
First of all, the interviewer did not even bring a real steak; he had a picture of the alleged steak and wanted to confront Ramsay about it not being well done. To add insult to injury, the food wasn’t his order. It had been ordered by another customer who complained about it, and the reporter had decided to take a photo.
The British celebrity chef and restaurateur looked calm when he began explaining himself. He sits forward and listens to the reporter and seems interested at first, but after learning that the reporter is mischievous, his angry persona comes out. He bashes the journalist continuously and prematurely ends the interview with “I thought this was going to be an intelligent interview.”
11. FRANK ZAPPA TO JOE PYNE: “SO I GUESS YOUR WOODEN LEG MAKES YOU A TABLE”
You would be making a fool of yourself by trying to make fun of Frank Zappa. But Joe Pyne, a former Marine, and World War II veteran thought he would get away with it.
As a former army man, Joe lost his leg during a war, but he had found success after joining radio and TV. In fact, around 1966, he was at the peak of his career with a show that aired to a massive audience.
Joe had become famous for his aggressive behavior towards his guests. He would occasionally insult interviewees and anyone who disagreed with him, regardless of status.
But again, Joe always hosted his show behind a desk; possibly because he had a wooden leg that made him self-conscious. It is alleged that Zappa appeared on the show on October 22, 1966, and Joe attacked him as was the norm. Joe commented about Zappa’s long hair and how it made him a woman. Zappa immediately fired back with “So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table.”
10. TOM HARDY ‘TACKLES’ A REPORTER WHO ASKS HIM ABOUT HIS SEXUALITY
Tom Hardy felt offended when a journalist asked him about his sexuality during a press conference for the movie Legend. First, the interviewer introduced himself as being a member of the LGBT community, and it became clear that his question had a hidden motive.
The question sounded pointless, and the celebrity first made him clarify the question before showing him how tasteless it was. He then ended the conversation with a firm “Thank you.”
An awkward silence followed, and the reporter was probably regretting his move. Why did he mention the LGBT community? Was he gathering more members for the group? Or maybe he was gay and was cleverly wooing Tom Hardy?
He probably wanted Hardy to be a spokesperson for the LGBT community and turn the occasion into a liberal flag-waving event. Regardless, it was an epic fail. Did anyone care about Tom Hardy’s sexuality before he became a movie star?
9. JIM EVERETT ATTACKS JIM ROME FOR CALLING HIM ‘CHRIS EVERT’ DURING AN ESPN2 INTERVIEW
Jim Everett used to be the quarterback for the Rams in the late ’80s. During his tenure, there was a game in the NFC Championship where he fell on the ground while waiting for a sack that never materialized.
This prompted Jim Rome, a former ESPN2 talk show host, to start mocking him by calling him ‘Chris Evert;’ insinuating that he was a girl because he was afraid of ‘contact.’ At the time, Chris Evert was the most celebrated female tennis player.
Somehow, Jim Everett ended up on Jim Rome’s show, and Rome could not stop reminding him of his downfall. He had gotten the perfect opportunity to intimidate Everett.
Everett became more agitated when Rome insisted on calling him “Chris.” He pushed a table that was between them and knocked Rome from his chair before jumping on him. Luckily, some studio employees intervened and calmed things down.
8. SERENA WILLIAMS TO REPORTER: “TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST WITH YOU, I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE”
Serena was just coming from a U.S. open match against her sister, and it is likely that she was emotional because the game meant a lot to her even though she had won.
As usual, she had to deal with the post-match conference, and one reporter asked her why she wasn’t smiling yet she had won. According to the reporter, Serena was always smiling after a win, but after her match with Venus, she looked gloomy.
Serena openly confessed that she did not want to be in the interview.
She went on about how she would have preferred to be in bed to prepare for practice. The tennis star continued to rant about not wanting to answer any questions and the fact that reporters tended to ask the same things.
Maybe the reporter should have stuck to tennis-related conversations instead of talking about Serena’s mood. Serena confirmed that she had only shown up for the post-match press conference because it was compulsory. Players who fail to attend such interviews get heavily fined.
7. MARSHAWN LYNCH GIVES THE SAME ANSWER 25 TIMES DURING A SUPER BOWL MEDIA DAY
According to the NFL rules, Lynch is supposed to have some media time. He has refused to comply in the past, and NFL has fined him for that.
So, the Seattle Seahawks running back interviewed during a Super Bowl media day in January of 2015 where he repeated one statement for every question.
He genuinely listened to every reporter and answered with one statement:
“I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
There was a time when the media twisted his words; therefore, his one-answer response was a way of preventing a similar situation from happening. Almost a year later, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office acknowledged the phrase as a registered trademark. Lynch has previously chosen to respond to questions with a single word or phrase, and most of the time, his press conference performances have received considerable attention because of their hilarity.
6. MICHAEL WINNER OWNS RICHARD LITTLEJOHN OVER HIS DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS A LESBIAN COUPLE
Michael Winner was pissed when Richard Littlejohn misbehaved while interviewing a lesbian couple during the Live and Uncut program on ITV.
The topic of discussion was lesbian parenting, but Winner interrupted the session to scold Littlejohn for his poor manners. He insisted that while the lesbian couple had shown dignity and respect, Littlejohn had shown neither. Winner even went ahead to use curse words to express his disgust and to ensure his point was driven home.
As he reprimanded Littlejohn, Winner went on to comment that interviewer’s habit was a shameful exhibition of vulgarity towards a minority group. He revealed that he almost walked out of the interview.
Mind you; this was in 1994, a time when lesbianism was considered ‘unusual’ and was widely unacceptable. Back then, the criticism was unbearable because society found homosexuality absurd.
5. MIKE TYSON USES COARSE LANGUAGE AFTER HE IS ANGERED BY NATHAN DOWNER
First of all, pissing off Mike Tyson should be the last thing on your to-do list, unless you are willing to take a jab from a former undisputed world heavyweight champion.
Tyson had visited Toronto to promote a match that had been organized by the city’s mayor. As the interview starts, Tyson seems excited and enthusiastic about the match. The questions seem relevant as they revolve around his mission in Toronto.
Downer then mentions Tyson’s previous rape allegations and asks how those claims would affect the mayor’s campaign.
Bam! Iron Mike starts to look pissed. Was the question necessary considering there was nothing tangible to confirm Tyson’s guilt? Just so you know, Downer asked this while staring at Tyson directly in the eye. The former professional boxer immediately starts to curse and calls out the news anchor for his insensitive remarks.
Tyson tries to confront Downer about the issue, but Downer completely ignores him and tries to proceed with the interview. Tyson gets more agitated and carries on with his profanity. He disregards Downer’s statement that they are live on TV.
4. “TO BE FRANKLY HONEST, I REALLY DON’T APPRECIATE YOU BRINGING ALL THIS UP”: ELIZABETH SMART TO NANCY GRACE
In 2006, Nancy Grace interviewed 16-year-old Elizabeth Smart who had been abducted from her home in 2002 and kept hostage for over nine months. Elizabeth’s appearance on Grace’s show was to explain her role as an advocate for kidnapped children. She had made it clear that her past experiences were irrelevant.
But Nancy did the usual. She went in soft and quiet as if she cared for Elizabeth while asking some probing questions. As things got tense, she went on to suggest that Elizabeth had been reluctant to leave her abductors.
On the other hand, Elizabeth had been respectfully reminding Nancy that she was not there to discuss the details of her abduction. Elizabeth continued to be resistant, then Nancy suggested that Elizabeth did not want to speak out to other victims. The remark was a total disregard of everything that Elizabeth had gone through.
3. IRELAND PRESIDENT, MICHAEL D. HIGGINS, TAKES DOWN TEA PARTY PUNDIT, MICHAEL GRAHAM
On May 28, 2010, Michael Graham, a tea partier, saw it fit to start a fight with a foreign president. However, things did not go well for him.
Michael D. Higgins (who became Ireland’s president in 2011) was evidently fed up with Tea Party rhetoric. During his interview with former Boston conservative radio host, Michael Graham, Higgins expressed his disgust with the Tea Party in a heated exchange that covered everything from health care to foreign policy.
The fiery Higgins, a human rights activist, and leftist politician took Graham to task over the party’s criticism of President Barack Obama and its opposition to the health care reform bill.
It was a conversation that was primarily dominated by Higgins, and even though Graham tried to interject, he is barely able to make his point heard as Higgins owns him. The tirade went on for over four minutes, and Higgins reduces Graham to pieces as he accuses him and Sarah Palin of warmongering.
2. RUSSELL BRAND SINGLE HANDEDLY ‘DISARMS’ THREE MSNBC REPORTERS DURING A MORNING JOE TALK SHOW
From the onset of the interview, Russell had sensed mischief. For example, at the very start of the conversation, one of the hosts, Mika Brzezinski, discloses that she doesn’t know Russell Brand. Come on Mika! Russell is known for his extraordinary personality. He can be sweet or be condescending depending on the situation. However, most of the times, he is funny, energetic and charismatic.
You can tell from the start that Russell has been disrespected, but he ‘steps in’ to rip the reigns from their hands. For example, Russell repeatedly expresses his dislike for being called ‘he’ when he is right there. “Where are your manners?” he rants.
His kill shot was when he asks, “Is this what you people do for a living?” Mika and her co-hosts soon discover they had tried to kid a kidder. The hosts had been clumsy in handling Russell, but he ‘hijacked’ the interview and confirmed to them that they had touched a ‘live wire.’ Clearly, Russell Brand had been treated to a barrage of jokes at his expense, and the only way out was to shut down the panelists. He later revealed in an op-ed that he had been nice until he encountered rudeness from the panelists.
1. PIERS MORGAN GETS OWNED BY BEN SHAPIRO
In January of 2013, political commentator and bestselling conservative author Ben Shapiro went head to head with Piers Morgan, who was then a CNN journalist. They were discussing the troublesome gun control laws in the United States, and the conversation is considered one of the most devastating exchanges for Morgan. It apparently led to a significant decline in his audience.
Shapiro began by pointing out how Piers had been a bully about the whole issue and how he would demonize whoever differed with him politically. Shapiro accused him of making those who disagreed with him look like they did not care about the children of Sandy Hook. The way that Shapiro broke down his ideas was so convincing that you could tell Piers was losing the debate.
When the outraged Morgan tried to be confrontational about the Sandy Hook issue, Shapiro did not back down. He went further to explain to Morgan the reason for the Second Amendment. Morgan scoffed at Shapiro’s explanation and asked him what “tyranny” he feared. The discussion continued with Shapiro mostly dominating. However, the lowest moment was when the British host dismissed the U.S. Constitution; calling it a “little book.” “That’s the Constitution of the U.S,” replied Shapiro. Piers Morgan had been wrecked.
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