A ''mix-up backstage'' is cited as the source of the actor's drama

By Degen Pener
Updated June 21, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brave heart, short fuse. Mel Gibson walked out of the MTV Movie Awards on June 8 less than halfway through the show and became the talk of the post-awards bash. Here’s the story on Gibson’s sudden disappearance: Mel was miffed after he was thrown into an unrehearsed skit with cohost Janeane Garofalo, who asked him too-cute questions like ”Do you think I look fat in this dress?” MTV, which hadn’t told Gibson about the interview, apologized and plans to edit out the offending material from the June 13 telecast. ”There was a mix-up backstage,” says a network spokeswoman. Adds Gibson’s spokesman, ”They f—ed up.”

More fun was the set, equipped with a giant slide, which had presenters like Whoopi Goldberg whooshing onto the stage. ”I’d say I left a lot of myself on that slide,” she quipped.

After Chris Farley and David Spade won as Best Onscreen Duo, Spade advised Farley not to eat the fake popcorn in the tub-shaped trophy. He didn’t.

At the end of the night, Garofalo and fellow host Ben Stiller reflected on Mel’s un-mellow desertion. ”I think he was intimidated by Janeane’s forthright manner,” said Stiller. Garofalo took a different spin. ”He had such a big crush on me,” she said, ”that he had to leave because he couldn’t contain himself.”