Top 10 Memorable TRL Moments

TRL was one of those programs that was exciting, kind of magical, and annoying all rolled in one. You were always guaranteed some juicy moments, especially when controversial or unwilling celebrities stopped by. You could also see some live performances, interviews, and videos by your favorite artists. The catch was you had to deal with screaming fans for the entire show. They even interrupted the videos with their intelligible shout outs. This was the one program that kept MTV somewhat reputable; we all know it hasn’t been the same since the show ended in 2008. Though there are so many noteworthy moments from the show, here are 10 of the most memorable moments in TRL history.

10. Biking with Blink-182

On one of the band’s first appearances on TRL, the guys participated in the first ever BMX indoor biking event. Sounds simple enough, but since this is Blink-182 we’re talking about you know there’s a twist somewhere. While Travis went straight through the course with no hang ups, Tom stopped mid-way through to take off his clothes and run the rest of the way, with the bike under his arm. Not one to be outdone, Mark embarked on the course completely naked with ski goggles to protect his eyes. Carson could hardly stand to watch the reply. You could tell he threw up in his mouth a little when watching Mark finish the race. Proving they’re not afraid to embarrass themselves, Blink-182 offered up one of the most cringing moments of the show.

9. Madonna graces TRL

In 2000, Madonna made her first appearance on TRL to promote her film The Next Best Thing. Everyone in the studio was clearly excited: fans wouldn’t stop screaming and even Carson wanted to make sure the diva was having a good time. Her interview is both funny and a bit awkward since Carson goes between being starstruck and treating her like she’s 100 years old by filling her in on the latest videos. To be fair, she admits she has never been to the MTV studios and haven’t seen most of the clips on the countdown. The best part comes when they cut to a Christina Aguilera video and Madonna says “Because Carson knows all about Christina Aguilera.” The two were dating at the time and Carson did nothing but shrug. Throughout the whole thing she’s funny and cynical, especially when it comes to the fan questions. I think she was expecting something deeper than “Are you making a new album?” While she loved the adoration, she was clearly ready to leave after a certain point.

8. A TRL The Wedding

For some reason, one couple felt the most romantic place to get married was the TRL studios. To make matters even more ridiculous the couple were joined in holy matrimony by MC Hammer. Let that sink in for a second. Yes, Hammer is a licensed pastor, so he’s qualified to do the job. But does anyone’s ideal wedding have MC Hammer anywhere in the picture? I hope not. The people who are getting married even look a little disappointed the celebrity guest wasn’t someone cooler. Makes me wonder if they are still together. (Sorry for the low quality video).

7. Eminem’s (awkward) first appearance

We all know the story of Eminem‘s rise to fame. Since he was so popular, MTV jumped at every opportunity to have him on their channel. His first visit to TRL is memorable for how awkward it is. Eminem himself does a good job; he’s funny, sarcastic, and overall seems humble to be there. Things get bad when Mark Wahlberg steps out. First of all, was he standing in that corner the entire time Carson was talking to Em? Guess they didn’t have the backstage situation down yet. As soon as Wahlberg comes out, he has this pissed off look on his face as if he didn’t want the rapper to get any attention. He barely acknowledges Eminem and seems like he’s in a rush to get it over with. Em then comments “We’re all a happy fun bunch.” Get it? Marky Marky and the Funky bunch? Whether or not it was intentional, it was still cringe worthy.

6. Nsync’s first performance

TRL and boy bands were made for each other. Every time the latest group visited the studio, the screams were so loud your ears started to bleed even if you were watching at home. It was no different when the boys made their first visit back in 1998. For any Nsync fan, this was an important moment in the band’s history. Performing “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” the guys show off their funky dance moves, smooth harmonies, and charming personalities. It’s funny to see how many guys are grooving to the music in the clip knowing that within a year they would come to dislike them as all guys did in the late ’90s. Still, it’s a classic moment that takes you back to when you first fell in love with the band.

5. Moms Against Manson

There was a time when Marilyn Manson was the most controversial figure around. He was also another favorite at the MTV studios. For the release of his fourth album Holywood, Manson stopped by for an interview where some mothers who weren’t necessarily fans had questions for him. As always, Manson answered them flawlessly with intelligence and politeness causing the naysayers to think twice about the musician. Manson is not shy to take on people who don’t like him, but the fact that MTV brought on mothers who didn’t understand his music is kind mind boggling and pretty forward thinking. It’s these types of unexpected situations the network no longer practices.

4. Backstreet Boys Shut Down Times Square/Announce AJ’s Rehab

This adorable boy band were a favorite around TRL and the day their second album Millennium was released, they paid a visit to TRL. The next thing anyone heard were ear shattering screams and tons of girls crying so hard they can’t even see their favorite member. Things got so hectic police had to shut down traffic on Times Square to control the crowds. Another memorable and somber moment was when they announced AJ’s stint in rehab live on the air. It’s a remarkable visit because everyone in the studio goes silent, the music stops, and the crowd grows tense. The guys struggle with the news as they choke up and some don’t speak at all. Fortunately, AJ made a recovery and the guys are still going strong now.

3. A Visit from The King of Pop

Michael Jackson shut down Times Square when he decided to stop by in 2001 to promote his latest album Invincible. The crowds were so intense Carson had to interview him in the Virgin Megastore away from the TRL madness. This visit is notable because it’s so unexpected and massive. If you thought things went bonkers when Nsync stopped by, people absolutely lost it as he stood there waving. With constant airplay from boy bands and trending singles, TRL seemed like the last place MJ would visit. It was a short interview, but one that has gone done in both TRL and MTV history.


Celebrity hosts were common on TRL, but nobody did a takeover better than Eminem. Rather than filling in for Carson Daly and showing the popular videos fans voted for, he showed his favorite videos, many of which were his own. He also proved he was the funniest rapper out there by bantering with the crowd, poking fun at himself, putting on several voices, and even parodying several MTV shows: He showed his ass on Say What Karoke?, met Funkmaster Flash during Fanatic, and presented music news as Hurt Shoulder. The best part was his imitation of Tom Green where he looked for friends to join his “pic-o-nic” and declared he was in fact the real slim shady. He took over MTV for two hours and it was glorious. Luckily, fans can still watch this great moment online in its entirety.

1. Mariah’s Meltdown

If there is one moment in TRL that is still talked about to this day it’s when Mariah Carey made an unexpected visit to the studio. Carson Daly stood there baffled as Carey came out rolling an ice cream truck wearing practically nothing. It soon became clear that something is wrong with the singer as she announces this is her “therapy.” She makes less and less sense the more she goes on. At one point she even states “If you don’t have enough ice cream in your life, you might go a little bit crazy” only to then ask the crowd if they like her shirt. She’s all over the place, confused, and just out there. Carson is clearly uncomfortable while the audience is just happy to see a celebrity. It was no surprise to anyone she checked into rehab shortly after her visit. A lot of things have happened on TRL but none of them have been as bizarre or memorable as this one.

Honorable Mention:

Nsync Fan Threatens Carson

Fangirls are crazy. Though there are tons still around willing to cut down anyone who dare say a bad thing about One Direction or Justin Beiber, the fangirl wars were the worst when it came to BSB and Nsync. In most cases, you had to be for one group and against the other (I liked both) and anyone who liked the other was your enemy. TRL took these wars to new heights when they pit one Nsync fan and BSB fan against each other in a battle of trivia. The Nsync fan was victorious which led the extremely pissed off BSB fangirl threaten to kill both the opponent and Carson because he asked her a “trick question.” Carson, obviously scared, backs away from her and quickly ends the show. In today’s post 9/11 world, she could never get away with that. If she tried to pull that now security would tackle her and she would probably be arrested.

Did I miss a moment? Which one of these is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.



  1. Interesting! When TRL started a lot of us felt the opposite “this is the end of MTV, the nail in the coffin” as videos got less play in other formats & the network was changing directions, little did we know it would get worse with even less music programming and more TV and “reality” shows. That being said I remember tuning in after school at my friend Julie’s a few times to see if Blink-182 was still #1. It fun to see some acts on the show and other times it was intolerable, hated the screaming fans too, I forgot they did those shout outs, ugh! Do you remember MTV Live? The predecessor to TRL? It was on at night and Toby would interview artists, I remember when Marilyn Manson was on for some reason, but not who else. It wasn’t on that long & then turned into TRL in the afternoon.

    I remember the Mariah incident! Right after that they said she was suffering from exhaustion and had a nervous breakdown. =(

    Aside from poor Mariah I love taking a look back at this stuff!

    1. Yeah like I mentioned there were times I loved TRL like watching Blink-182’s video or when Green Day was on there, but most of the time ugh…the screaming and some of the guests were just terrible. Man, that Mariah incident….I was actually watching that episode at the time and when she started singing my mom said “Is that Mariah Carey? What is she doing there?” That was sad. I do remember MTV Live. That was way cooler than TRL, but I guess they thought TRL was a better idea. I recently watch the MTV Live with Marilyn Manson. It just makes me sad how much programming on music used to be on networks like MTV and now there’s just about none.

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