Beavis & Butthead: 15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts
Before there was Rob and Big, there was the original MTV superstar duo, Beavis and Butt-Head. The first mainstream project from comedic savant Mike Judge, Beavis and Butt-Head introduced the world to just how stupid two teen boys could be, while still squeezing in some great writing and improvised dialogue. Here are 15 little known facts about the original idiot best friends.
Mike Judge Wrote The Theme Song
Mike Judge made the theme music for the show himself, as he was himself a musician and in a band called Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. He confessed on the Beavis and Butt-Head Do America DVD commentary that the riff is actually AC/DC’s “Gone Shootin” guitar riff played backwards.
The Voices OF Mike Judge
Judge voiced several characters on the show including Beavis, Butt-Head, Tom Anderson, Principal McVicker, Mr. Stevenson, and Coach Bradley Buzzcut.
They Were Based On Real People
Mike Judge said that the name “Beavis” was based on an athletic neighbor kid from his college apartment named Bobby Beavis. The name Butt-Head came from a child who gave himself the nickname “Iron-Butt” after claiming anyone could kick him in the butt and it wouldn’t hurt, who also had a friend named “Butt-Head.”
The Show Was Blamed For A Child’s Death
In October of 1993, a 5-year-old boy set fire to his home which ended up killing his 2-year-old sister. The show Beavis and Butt-Head was blamed because of Beavis’s infatuation with arson, according to the mother. MTV’s solution was to push the show to 10:30 and remove all references to fire from the rest of the show.
Judge Improvised His Music Video Dialogue
One of the biggest appeals of Beavis and Butt-Head was listening to their reactions to different MTV music videos, all of which Mike Judge would improvise. Judge said, “A lot of times, one of the writers will come and just hang out and kind of help out. but we just watch the video a bunch of times and then I go into the booth and mess around.”
Tom Anderson’s Voice Was A Prototype For Hank Hill
While they may not be identical twins personality-wise, Tom Anderson was the baseline for Judge’s next star character, Hank Hill from King Of The Hill. “You boys couldn’t sell a dollar for 50 cents.”
Daria Was Modeled After Janeane Garofalo
MTV pushed for Daria to be created and given a show in order to increase their audience to include more young women. She was modeled after Janeane Garofalo and Sara Gilbert from Rosanne and did increase young female viewership.
Judge Taught Himself Animation In 3 Years
Judge sent away for a cheap collection of animation equipment and taught himself animation. Beavis and Butt-Head were some of his earliest creations. Judge said bad comments about the shorts before he got big didn’t bother him, because he knew he was still new to the craft.
A Congressman Referred To It As Buffcoat And Beaver
In an effort to condemn the show for making the youth of America dumber, as well as a retaliation for the arson incident, Sen. Earnest Hollings called out the show at a hearing, except he called it “Buffcoat and Beaver.”
Judge Got Burnt Out
Judge dropped the show in 1997 due to creative burnout. Judge says he would’ve stopped sooner if he could have, and added, “We’ve done over 200 episodes . After the second season, I thought, ‘How are we gonna do this anymore?’ I was completely burnt out. I got a second wind in season three, and again in season five. But I don’t know, you do it as fast as you can, get it on the air as fast as you can, and there’s never a break. I felt, like, why not retire before it gets too stale or whatever?”
Marlon Brando And Johnny Depp Were Big Fans
Johnny Depp told Mike Judge that he and Marlon Brando were big fans of the MTV series. Depp said that on the set of Don Juan DeMarco, the two actors had a routine that Brando would impersonate Butt-Head and Depp would impersonate Beavis. If only Brando had lived long enough to star in a live action adaption of the show with Depp.
Kanye West Wanted To Be On The Show
Notorious down-to-earth rapper Kanye West was adamant about getting one of his music videos on the show, but the co-writer who owned 6% of the song refused to let it be shown. It's like the equivalent of your friend group deciding where to eat, but one person “doesn't like sushi.”
The First Short Was Screened At The Sick and Twisted Festival Of Animation
The early Beavis and Butt-Head proof of concept short “Frog Baseball” was screened at The Sick and Twisted Festival Of Animation, where it was quickly picked up by MTV. When the show was picked up Judge had a month and a half to write 35 episodes.
Beavis And Butt-Head Presented An Oscar
At the 1997 Academy Awards, Beavis and Butt-Head came onto stage and announced the winner for Sound Effects Editing, The Ghost and The Darkness. Probably a good thing this wasn’t the Oscars Trey Parker and Matt Stone went to while on LSD or they may have had a really bad trip.
Beavis and Butt-Head Got On Rolling Stone
Beavis and Butt-Head were on the cover of Rolling Stone a whopping three times, with their 1993 issue being the best-selling issue of the magazine that year.
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Top Image: MTV