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'And the best new artist is ... me!' — Little Richard at the 1988 Grammy Awards
Little Richard was given the job of presenting Best New Artist. He had a pointed, (yet hilarious) message for the Grammys. This is the comedy of perfectly delivered boastfulness.
Watch this video. It will bring you joy .
Every few weeks I glace at my phone’s notes app where I write down speeches I should put up on Speakola. This is one I’ve loved for a long time, but I just transcribed and added it this afternoon.
In 1988, Little Richard presented the Best new Artist Grammy with The New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, then going around in his solo artist persona of Buster Poindexter.
They started off with some banter about Buster’s epic pompadeur:
Buster Poindexter: [Little Richard is staring at his hair] What?
Little Richard: I used to wear my hair like that. They take everything I get. They take it from me.
Buster Poindexter: Whooh!
Little Richard: He can’t get that though!
Little Richard is clearly having fun, and he’s about to have a whole lot more fun. It turns out that Little Richard hasn’t won a Grammy before, and that detail hasn’t escaped him:
And the best new artist is ... me! [Crowd erupts]
I have never received nothing. Y'all never gave me no Grammy. And I've been singing for years! I am the architect of rock n roll and they never gave me nothin’! And I am the originator, and I still say 'waaaaaaaaah'.
[steadies himself] And the winner is ... still me. Good morning! I had to get that in. Being a brown Jew from Georgia, I had to tell it too.
[to Poindexter who’s trying to move it along] Shuddup. [Reads envelope and giggles] Wooooaaaa! The winner really is me!
Eventaully, producers, Buster Poindexter, and perhaps even Little Richard himself realise the joke is over:
Buster Poindexter: Richard. Richard. Shut up.
Little Richard: And the winner is … Jody Watley!
Is there a better moment in an enteratinament awards show? The Speakola collection for Arts and Culture is here .
Little Richard was an original inductee to the Rock and roll Hall of Fame, and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. But he never won a Grammy for a song, album, or performance.
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The whole story of that 1988 Grammys, with performances by U2 and Michael Jackson, is told bybelow.
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