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R.E.M. Big Winners at 8th Annual MTV Awards; Pee-wee Steals the Show

September 6, 1991

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (AP) _ R.E.M. grabbed the trophies, but Pee-wee Herman stole the show at the 8th annual MTV Video Music Awards.

And pop icon Prince, clad in a see-through yellow suit that exposed his buttocks, performed a song titled ″Gett Off″ while half-naked dancers undulated on stage.

Paul Reubens, better known as former children’s TV host Pee-wee Herman, brought down the house Thursday in his first public appearance since being arrested July 26 in a Sarasota, Fla., adult movie theater after an undercover police officer claimed he saw Reubens masturbating.

Awards show host Arsenio Hall expressed sympathy for Reubens, 38, who has pleaded innocent.

″Even if he did do what they say he did, we’ve been paying Dan Quayle big bucks to do it in the White House,″ Hall said.

R.E.M. won six categories, including video of the year and best group for ″Losing My Religion.″

The disjointed, mythical video, named for an old Southern expression that means reaching the end of one’s rope, also was honored in the best editing, direction, art direction and breakthrough categories.

R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe accepted the best video award by thanking a long list of people while pulling off a series of T-shirts advocating social causes, including handgun control and legalized abortion.

Asked backstage about the awards’ significance, Stipe said, ″M.C. Hammer said congratulations to me, Cher smiled at me, George Michael shook my hand, James Brown looked my way.″

The sold-out audience at the Universal Amphitheater screamed its approval when Reubens, sporting his trademark bow tie, came on stage during the three- hour live telecast.

″Heard any good jokes lately?″ he asked during the ceremony’s opening.

″Oh, all right, shut up already,″ he told the crowd, which applauded wildly.

Chris Isaak’s black-and-white video ″Wicked Game″ took three trophies, including best male video, best cinematography and best video from a film. The song was featured in filmmaker David Lynch’s movie ″Wild at Heart.″

C & C Music Factory won best dance video and best choreography for its exuberant ″Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).″

In other categories, Janet Jackson beat Madonna and Paula Abdul to take best female video for ″Love Will Never Do Without You,″ and British band Jesus Jones won best new artist for their ″Right Here, Right Now″ video.

The metal-hard rock category trophy went to veteran rock group Aerosmith for ″The Other Side.″

The winners of MTV’s highest honor, the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, were announced before the show: hard rockers Bon Jovi and video director Wayne Isham.

Hall noted that performers and presenters were wearing red ribbons to signify their support for greater AIDS awareness.

″We got to have it,″ he yelled.

Celebrities at the primetime Emmy awards two weeks ago also wore red ribbons for AIDS research.

The music awards ceremony, seen on cable’s MTV network, also was shown in more than 140 countries in Europe, Asia and South America, as well as U.S. military installations worldwide via the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

The awards were voted on by a group of 1,000 representatives from the music industry and media covering the music industry.

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