MTV Stars from the ‘90s: Where Are They Now?
Although it may not seem like it now, MTV stands for Music Television; once upon a time, this acronym actually rang true. From MTV News to The Grind, the 90s were the golden area for Viacom’s flagship network -- and that was in large part due to Dan Cortese its lineup of personalities. Warning: if you were born in the 90s, you will have absolutely no idea who these people are. Also, we hate you.
Take a walk down memory late with these seven MTV legends -- and find out what they are up to today.
Ahh, Dan Cortese -- that awkward yet still sorta hunky (due to his daredevil ways) host of MTV Sports. The best way to explain this show is with another throwback: it was basically the adult version of Nickelodeon's Wild & Crazy Kids. It was, similarly, about nothing but doing crazy shit -- although, in Dan Cortese’s case, it was much less go-karting and much more skydiving tricks. Somehow, this show ran for five years; from there, Dan the man pursued an acting career which initially didn’t get much further than cameos on Melrose Place and Seinfeld (although that’s a hell of a cameo). Until, that is, he scored a regular gig on Veronica’s Closet opposite Kirstie Alley until 2000 -- before becoming the hilarious butt of Bill Hader’s jokes on SNL’s “Weekend Update.” He is, allegedly, still “acting” today.
You guys, let’s get one thing out now: The Grind was soft-core porn. Depending on what year you were born, it’s very likely your mom turned it off when she caught you watching it. Or, perhaps more likely, you switched the channel yourself after realizing a half-hour show of people bumping and grinding loses its luster after the first 10 minutes. It did spawn off some pretty sexy “Spring Break” episodes though -- and all of The Grind episodes were hosted by the almost always shirtless (he had abs before The Situation made it cool), Eric Nies. You may remember Eric from the first-ever The Real World cast in New York. He was the hot one. And how’s this for a statistic? Eric -- also a former model -- was the only Real World star to ever host another MTV spinoff. He tried to capitalize off his fame by launching a workout brand, but that tanked. He then left his MTV career altogether and got married -- only to return to his roots with The Real World New York Homecoming that launched just this month. However, he mysteriously isn’t living in the loft with the other cast members -- we can only assume it’s because he still has a thing for Julie.
Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery
Kennedy was a pioneer hipster, as in she was one before that was even a thing. One of the first 1990s VJ and host of “Alternative Nation", she was, in a sense, the 90’s first lady of MTV. And her broadcast reign lives on in the present day. After moving to Seattle to host a talk show, she now has her own “Music in the Mornings” show in L.A. So while not technically in the MTV family, she is one of the few who continued to live that music life. And we respect it.
True story: when MTV News used to come on, I would flip the channel. Especially when it was Kurt Loder. His monotone voice sent me into a pit of despair. But also, I was 13 and not mature enough for even MTV-level news, clearly. Now, as a full-fledged adult and fellow journalist, I envy Kurt Loder’s career. After spearheading MTV News, he went on to be an editor at Rolling Stone magazine and has published several books including his nonfiction time The Good, the Bad and the Godawful which is a collection of his savage (and also hilarious) movie reviews over the years. He also launched a talk radio show on Sirius called "True Stories" where he goes into detail about some of music’s biggest history makers. In short, he’s a badass and I’m an idiot.
Raise your hand if you had the biggest crush on Simon Rex? (Editor’s note: my hand is up.) Rex came on the scene in the mid-90s as a VJ, and rumors quickly started swirling that he had been in porn movies when he was just 19; if memory serves, those rumors just as quickly became fact. His VJ stint was short-lived, but he did go on to star in some pretty heavy-hitting films like Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4. Some other career highlights: de-flowering Felicity during a late-night “sketch session” in the college art studio (thus, causing her and Noel to split) and becoming a rap artist named "Dirt Nasty.” You can catch his act on YouTube, and you really should.
The 90s was also synonymous with the time that being a Playboy Playmate could launch your career. Case in point: Jenny McCarthy. Her Playboy spread caught the eye (literally) of TV execs who launched her career into overdrive when they made her the co-host of MTV’s premier dating show Singled Out. She was the spazzy, hot girl to Chris Hardwick’s sarcastic nerd. Match made in heaven, and the show was a huge hit until McCarthy left for her own talk show Jenny. From there, she went on to star in a bevy of movies and TV shows, and even had a long-term relationship with A-list actor Jim Carey. Now she is best known as a controversial anti-vaccination / autism spokesperson and being married to former New Kid on the Block-er and Marky Mark’s bro, Donnie Wahlberg.
Remember when MTV launched “Wanna Be A VJ” contests and alternative, wannabe hipsters from far and wide lined up to audition? Well, so does freakishly tall Jesse Camp. He took the crown the inaugural year and was an MTV VJ and co-host of TRL with Carson Daily for all of, well, one year. From there, he tried to break into the music business but didn’t make too much noise. Then he quite literally went missing until he was found by police outside of a Sherwin Williams store, Yep, can’t make this shit up.