30 ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ Trivia Tidbits for Its 30th Anniversary
Thirty years ago, a cartoon show aired on MTV that was so divisive that politicians were calling for it to be removed from the air. It was crass, it was filthy, but most of all, it was downright hilarious. Beavis and Butt-Head hocked a loogie into the pool of early 1990s pop culture, with the New York Times Rick Marin describing it best back in 1993: “There’s a fine line between clever and stupid, as somebody says in This Is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner’s cleverly stupid ‘rockumentary.’ Beavis and Butt-Head don’t just walk that line: they live there.”
To celebrate three decades of these snickering metalheads and their many (and most often, very correct) music opinions, let’s dive into some tidbits about the two idiot BFFs who will never grow up or score…
’Beavis and Butt-Head’ Put White Zombie on the Map
In 1992, metal band White Zombie released their album, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1, under the same label as Nirvana. It wasn’t an immediate hit and didn’t sell well until Beavis and Butt-Head decided to rock out to one of their new album’s songs.
The album skyrocketed immediately after the episode aired, with it ending up in the Billboard Top 40. Rob Zombie himself has said, “I didn’t even know what (Beavis and Butt-Head) was. It was so new; I hadn’t even seen it yet. And that started it all. No one realized the impact it could have, and it didn’t have an impact for everybody, but for us, it really did.”
Musicians Were Lining Up to Be Featured on the Show
Monte Conner, who worked at Roadrunner Records (and who handled early Metallica releases as well as those for Machine Head and Slipknot), told Vice, “Getting Beavis and Butt-Head to cover your video was one of the biggest scores a label and band could ever hope for.”
Mike Judge Didn’t Want the Duo to Be Bullies
When asked if there were any episodes he hated, Judge admitted that he didn’t care for the one where Beavis and Butt-Head ended up giving Stewart a wedgie. “I thought that was wrong,” Judge has explained. “It’s just too… I mean, going to his house and breaking stuff was one thing, but to put him up like that, that was a little weird; I didn’t like that one.”
The Unmade Movie Scripts
Judge has said that, while coming up with a script for the show’s first movie, several alternative storylines were developed. There was Beavis and Butt-Head Do Europe instead of America, and there was one Judge called Clockwork Butt-Head, which is pretty self-explanatory.
’Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe’ Was Originally Going to Be Live-Action
Paramount originally called for real actors to appear on screen in the 2022 movie, and Judge even held auditions over Zoom. But Judge ultimately convinced the studio to bring back the animated characters instead.
Beavis and Butt-Head Have A Guinness World Record
In September 2022, Beavis and Butt-Head, along with Paramount+, received the Guinness World Record for the largest serving of nachos, weighing in at 4,870 pounds.
Right-Wingers Claimed the Show Was Responsible for the Death of an Eight-Month-Old
In 1994, a watchdog group, which was previously called Morality in Media and is now known as the conservative anti-pornographic organization, The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, claimed that the death of an eight-month-old was the fault of the show. The baby died when a bowling ball was thrown from an overpass by a teenager. The group claimed that the teen was inspired by the Beavis and Butt-Head episode “Ball-Breakers,” in which Beavis and Butt-Head load a bowling ball with explosives before dropping it from a rooftop. But it turned out that not only did the teenager not watch Beavis and Butt-Head, but they didn’t even have cable TV.
The Dialogue in the Music Video Segments Was Improvised
With Judge voicing both Beavis and Butt-Head (as well as most of the other characters), he decided to ultimately wing the commentary in the music video segments because it saved time on writing.
Librarians in New York Were Unhappy About the Show
Back in 1993, a group of librarians in Westchester County blamed the show for negatively influencing kids’ reading habits. This was reportedly due to the fact that Beavis and Butt-Head would often say that books “suck.” In fairnesss, the two numbnuts said that about a lot of things.
Daria Was Modeled After Janeane Garofalo
When Judge was told the show needed smart female characters to kind of balance things out, Daria was created — a mix between Garofalo and Roseanne’s Darlene Conner.
A Very Kurt Loder Thanksgiving
In 1997, Beavis and Butt-Head had the honor of broadcasting the MTV Thanksgiving Day Parade alongside Kurt Loder. They even got to sit with Loder around a Thanksgiving dinner table and complain about not getting laid.
Gwar Is Beavis and Butt-Head’s Favorite Band
Fans of MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head: The Game will already know this, as all three tie-in games center around the same premise: The two metalheads are on a quest to find tickets to see their favorite band, Gwar.
Judge’s Own Opinion of the Duo Changed Over Time
The creator of the show told the Baltimore Sun: “When I first started out with the first show, which was ‘Frog Baseball,’ they were just two guys that I would definitely want to keep my distance from. But, by the end of the series, I would think that two guys like that would at least be fun to sit and watch TV with.”
The Show Was Also Blamed for Kids Setting Things on Fire
People denounced the show for supposedly promoting burning stuff as a fun activity after a five-year-old apparently watched the show, started making fires inside the house and ended up setting his bed ablaze, tragically killing his sister. Before that, an Ohio fire chief also blamed the show for causing three girls to start an inferno. The show was forced to remove all fire references and change its time slot.
The Origin of Their Names
Judge has said that when he was in college, the 12-year-old kid next door used to call himself Iron Butt. “They all called him Iron Butt because supposedly you could kick him in the butt as hard as you wanted, and it wouldn’t hurt him,” Judge remembered. “He’d demonstrate this. He’d stick his butt out, and kids would line up and just whack! He’d say, ‘See, it doesn’t hurt.’” That kid had a friend called Butt-Head, and there was another kid in the neighborhood called Bobby Beavis.
The Theme Song Was Inspired by AC/DC
Judge wrote the series’ theme song and said on the DVD commentary that the riff was basically the guitar riff from AC/DC’s “Gone Shootin” played backward.
The Inspiration Behind ‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do America’
For the 1996 film, Judge watched all the Cheech and Chong movies. “They’re really well done,” he told Rolling Stones. “People might think of them as just silly, dumb movies, but they’re well crafted, more than you might think.” Judge also watched a lot of Inspector Clouseau movies.
That Time Beavis and Butt-Head Presented the Oscars
It was the year 1997, and the two dill weeds got to award The Ghost and the Darkness with Best Sound Effects Editing while grunting and saying “Huh” a lot.
Judge Wanted to Quit While He Was Ahead
Judge said that after the second season, he was totally burnt out. “I got a second wind in Season Three and again in Season Five,” he told the L.A. Times. “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?”
They Were Three-Time ‘Rolling Stone’ Coverboys
Their 1993 appearance saw that issue go on to be the best-selling edition of the year.
Prison Officials in Oklahoma Banned the Show
It was reported that prisons in Oklahoma weren’t able to watch the two juvenile blabbermouths during their rec time, and schools in South Dakota reportedly banned clothing and any other items with the duo’s faces on it.
Judge Still Wants to Do a Live-Action Version
Despite eschewing it for Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, he told Rolling Stone that since he made Office Space based on his animated shorts, he could totally see Beavis and Butt-Head as a live-action feature.
The Genesis of the Great Cornholio
Judge told two stories about the origins of Beavis’ alter-ego. One involved Judge waking up in the middle of the night with the brilliant idea of having Beavis pull his shirt over his head. The other story goes like this, as told by Judge to the Phoenix New Times: “I used to work taking tickets in a movie theater. I was just a grunt, and I had to tell people to wait outside. And this one Middle Eastern guy came up and said (in an outraged Middle Eastern accent), ‘No! I will not wait outside! I want to buy some popcorn for my wife!’ And I said I was sorry, but those were the rules, and he said, ‘Are you threatening me?’ He kept saying it, and it stuck in my mind.”
The Show’s Album Was One of the Fastest-Selling Comedy Albums of All Time
In 1993, the show dropped The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience (referencing Jimi Hendrix’ original album for those who don’t know), and it proved an instant hit, selling faster than the two of them could say, “This album sucks!”
David Letterman Is a Beavis and Butt-Head Super Fan
Not only did Letterman defend the show against scathing reviews back when it first aired, but he also promoted Beavis and Butt-Head on his show.
Not to mention, he provided the voice of the Mötley Crüe roadie in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.
Their 1995 PC Game Was Named Best Adventure Game of the Year
Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity is a point-and-click adventure PC game released in August 1995, and PC Game US awarded it the best of its kind that year. It’s still revered by many gamers today.
Judge Is a Self-Taught Animator
He told The A.V. Club that he had a degree in physics, but he wasn’t really feeling a career in engineering. So he decided to be a musician, which lasted for about six years because he’d always secretly wanted to do animation. “I thought of animation as something I wanted to try if I was ever rich or retired,” Judge admitted. “I’d always assumed that you had to buy an expensive camera, and it seemed like something I couldn’t afford. I never thought about it long enough until I saw this guy’s cels. Then I thought, ‘Okay, you can probably rent a camera to do all the work.’ So that’s what I did. Actually, I bought a Bolex camera for $200 and started messing around with it. I just nerded out on this stuff, and the first thing I finished was the first Office Space short.”
The Orthodontic Origins of Butt-Head’s Voice
Judge told The Daily Bruin that he based Butt-Head’s voice on having braces as a child. “I had braces in high school, and they’d scrape your cheek, and you ended up talking like Butt-Head,” he explained. “That’s how I got the voice for Butt-Head, just a guy talking with a mouth full of wires.”
Aerosmith’s Management Wasn’t Happy About the Band’s Inclusion
Judge said that while the band members themselves didn’t seem to have a problem being featured in a music segment, their management was not happy. According to Judge, they put pressure on MTV to remove the segment, even though it wasn’t goofing on the band at all (except for joking about them being old). Aerosmith fired their manager soon thereafter.
The One Line Judge Would Never Have the Duo Cross
For all of the two dweebs’ controversial actions, there’s one thing that Judge would never, ever have Beavis and Butt-Head do — lose their virginities. “Having them scoring would be inappropriate,” Judge told the L.A. Times.
It might suck, but he’s totally right.