Arts & Culture » The B-List

I want my MTV VJ



"I've got no dish. It's all good. Everybody I met was fabulous."

So says former MTV VJ Alan Hunter as I lean uncomfortably into his persona and likewise his person. Truth be known, I've nursed my Alan Hunter crush for 20 years now, and I'm positively fermenting with trivia. I don't envy him having to stand next to me. I could blow at any moment.

"At the end of the interview, I'm gonna say, 'Can I have a hug?'" I blather.

"One of my good friends is a guy named Kevin Sessoms, who used to do a lot of writing for Vanity Fair," he shoots back. "He's always trying to turn me."

"Well, maybe it's my turn to turn."

"Dream on," he scores.

These days, Mr. Hunter is manning an unlikely indie-film production company in his native Alabama, when not illuminating the nightwaves with innumerable infomercial appearances. Seemingly out of nowhere, he's plopped down at Rollins to discuss how MTV -- starring him as the cute one -- changed the world. And at 45, he's still cute. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be my worst interview ever.

"I was just chatting with my buddy Martha Quinn the other day, and I told her I was coming down here," he updates.

"Did you ever sleep with her?"

"No, I did not."

Hmm. Nervous about the fact that I'm about to fall into full-on first-date mode (insert giggle here), I try to keep things contentious: sex, drugs, addiction, decline, etc.

"Were you guys drug-addled nymphomaniacs worthy of a "Behind the Music" denouement?"

"We tried to do this movie with TNN," he reveals. "But we couldn't really find a compelling angle on why anybody would give a shit about a movie based on our lives. Because none of us were heroin addicts, because we didn't sleep with each other, and we didn't have any real soap opera going on."

"But you were in my bedroom every day. Surely there's a real soap opera" -- or a minor personal thing -- "in that?"

"People did think of us as their friends," he winks to my flutter. "That's what made us different from the old movie stars."

Back in June 1981, Hunter was a not-so-struggling actor just one year into his New York make-it-there endeavor.

"I had just gotten out of a new wave/punk rock version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream,"" he details my dream job. "I was just in the David Bowie video 'Fashion' as one of the six core dancing people in the dancing troupe," he continues to stroke. "I had a little striped shirt and little tight pants."

Omigod. But Hunter's little tight pants would find broader exposure, when thanks to a fortuitous picnic meeting (yeah, those happen all the time in New York) with an MTV exec, he became the last piece in the original VJ puzzle.

Always the only one that you might sleep with, Alan represented an attempt to get away from hiring radio people, who, umm, "didn't always look good on camera."

Case in point: J.J. Jackson.

But, surprise, the VJs weren't even in the studio for their full six-hour shifts! We were fooled!

"The actual shooting schedule for the on-air stuff was probably the shortest part of our job," he exposes. "We only did the wraparounds. That's not news for your column."

"Then it's completely possible that you aren't even real?"

"That's why I'm wearing my glasses, because I haven't put my eyeballs in yet."

Yuck. Hold me.

"Let's talk interesting fame brushes. Who made you tingle?"

"Well, in the early days it was -- believe it or not -- REO Speedwagon, Styx and Rod Stewart videos."

"Kevin Cronin is gay."

"Yeah, but no one knew that," he slaps. "I don't think we outed anybody, did we? KISS took off their makeup, but I kind of expected them to go further. I said, 'C'mon Paul, just admit it!' Gene was not, but Paul ... "

And at this point I'm trying to force myself to think that he's kidding, mostly because the idea of Paul Stanley somewhere behind me inspires a hair ball larger than I'd care to conjure.

"I sat at the Playboy Mansion with Gene Simmons," he hair balls. "He sat there and told me about life and all the ladies he'd been with, then he showed me his tongue. It was great."

Showed you his tongue, did he?

"It went right down to his navel," he nauseates. "That'll get some of the readership going."

Talk of Tom Cruise, Kevin Bacon and Pee Wee Herman begins to bore, so I turn things back to the shiny frosted mullets of Duran Duran, because that's what I do.

"It was tough to love Duran Duran after awhile," he begs a bitch slap. "I mean, I liked jazz and Earth Wind and Fire and Keith Jarrett and Joni Mitchell before I got on that TV. I liked fusion, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, lots of esoteric stuff. But 'Hungry Like the Wolf,' that was a little embarrassing."

I hate you. I always hated you.

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