MTV Movie Awards 2016: Behind the outlandish 'Leo got f--ed by a bear'
'[It] was the most ridiculous thing that happened in Hollywood,' writer Jensen Karp tells EW
The MTV Movie Awards has doled out a mountain of meme-worthy moments since launching in 1991, and Sunday night’s show proved no different. From Alexander Skarsgard’s pantless presentation to The Lonely Island’s wacky Will Smith tribute, the 25th anniversary installment churned out plenty of spectacle. In one of the evening’s most outrageous bits, hosts Kevin Hart and the Rock took to a stage of bear-clad backup dancers for an outlandish riff on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar-winning Revenant performance.
While the entirety of the song was penned as a comical retrospect of the show’s momentous 25 years, its viral-inducing draw was undoubtedly its now-infamous hook. “You’ll always remember where you were when Leo got f—–d by a bear,” the newly anointed rap duo proclaimed, spoofing the Drudge Report’s erroneous 2015 headline that alleged DiCaprio’s character was sexually assaulted by a bear in the film.
“We’re in no way poking fun at [sexual assault] victims, we’re poking fun at this dumb thing people thought happened in a movie,” explains Jensen Karp, who co-wrote the song alongside Erik Weiner. “The idea that someone believed that was actually what happened was, to me, the most ridiculous thing that happened in Hollywood.”
Inspired by the Rock’s musical work with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on Disney’s upcoming animated flick, Moana, the MTV crew turned to Karp to craft the absurdist tune. The onetime rising rapper has a knack for humorous hip-hop, having scored a now-sour million dollar deal with Interscope just before he turned 20.
“My history in rap is pretty much the most ridiculous part of my life,” he says. “Whenever there’s comedy and hip-hop, there’s only a few choices you can go to, and I’m happy to be one of them.”
According to Karp, that history is part of what made the song land so big. He and Weiner were adamant that they didn’t want the cut to come off as a joke track, instead teetering the thin line between comedic clickbait and funny-but-legitimate music. “I always used to say I was a rapper who jokes, not a joker who raps,” Karp says. “I didn’t want them dressing in hoods or chains or anything like that. Rap nowadays is about being yourself, so that was my preface for coming in.”
Though DiCaprio has yet to respond to the notorious clip, Miranda has already weighed in on Twitter. “BAHAHAHAHA Legacy. WHAT is a legacy,” he wrote alongside a retweet from the Rock that cited him as an influence for the song. “That was my big holy s— moment,” Karp says. “If we get a Leo response, that will cap it. I will write ‘I didn’t get f—-d by a bear’ for him at any point.”
For more from Karp, look out for his upcoming book, Kanye West Owes Me $300. Out June 7, the memoir recounts his fish-out-of water rise from suburban California teen to rapper on-the-brink, rehashing hilarious tales from record shopping with a pre-famous Kanye to stealing porn from Sisqó’s L.A. home.
Preorder the book here and watch “Leo Got F—–d by a Bear” above.
2016 MTV Movie Awards