As Miley Cyrus, clad in a sparkly haltered jumpsuit, pointed out at the beginning of her opening monologue at the Video Music Awards, “This is a show that hasn’t had a host for the last two years.” And considering that this is an awards show that prides itself on pushing the envelope of good taste, it was a little strange to hear Miley engage in some pretty standard awards-show-host banter. Attempted self-deprecating cracks like, “I have literally done everything on the VMA stage, and none of it showed that I was qualified to host” seemed out of line with Cyrus’, and the VMAs’, usual defiant attitude.
Even though Cyrus’ monologue jokes didn’t land, there was at least one funny part of the beginning of the show (apart from the jumpsuit, I mean): a sketch that imagined the think tank behind Cyrus’ distinctly insane Instagram feed. Andy Samberg and Ike Barinholtz played the mad geniuses behind such snapshots as Miley wearing a jeweled eyepatch and Miley fellating a corn cob. As they try to figure out how Miley can outdo herself (and Ellen Degeneres) at the beginning of the VMAs, they even manage to poke fun at Cyrus’ penchant for cultural appropriation—sadly, it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine Cyrus following their suggestion to use Bollywood dancers as background decoration in an Instagram post.