MTV 2011 VMAs: Lady Gaga explains alter ego Jo Calderone as a New Jersey Italian who's 'not a f--ing guido!'


Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/

What was the deal with Lady Gaga appearing as her alter ego Joe Calderone at the 2011 VMAs? It’s a little unclear, but one thing is for certain: The pop queen was infinitely dedicated to the act, as became apparent when she appeared in the VMA press room and would only answer questions as Calderone, despite being introduced by handlers as Lady Gaga.

“I don’t understand the question,” Gaga/Calderone said after a journalist asked how one persona inspires or affects the other.

And how did it end up that Joe showed up at the VMAs instead of Gaga? Explained Gaga/Calderone: “She’s just really f—ing pissed at me right now and she said, ‘F— you. If you really love me, you’ll go instead of me, and you’ll get in that spotlight.’ So I did.”

Next question: Who is Joe and how long will he be with us? “I’m going to be here about five more minutes,” Gaga/Calderone said. “And I’m from Jersey. My family is from Palermo, Sicily, and I’m not a singer or a model or an actor or anything.”

Calderone is a guido, someone in the press crowd suggested. “No, I’m not a f—ing guido!” the enraged Gaga/Calderone said. “You don’t like Italians? What the f— is the matter with you? I’m just a guy, and I just wanted to show my girl how much I love her, that’s all.”

And lastly: Any chance that Calderone would get together with Britney, who he had just lavished on stage? “Maybe if she wants to,” Gaga/Calderone said. “She’s f—ing hot. I don’t know. You know, Gaga is my girl, but Britney is f—ing Britney Spears. Didn’t you jerk off to Britney when you were a kid?”

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The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
MTV 2011 VMAs: Lady Gaga, in drag, cannot stop mugging through Britney Spears tribute
MTV’s 2011 VMA winners: Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj lead the night’s wins
MTV 2011 VMAs: Lady Gaga? She’s a man, baby!

Comments (110 total) Add your comment
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  • Sam

    The whole act was annoying. Fine for her performance but when she kept it up all night and during the Britney tribute I was hoping Madonna was going to come out and push her off the stage. The show felt short on true legends this year and aside from Beyonce and Adele was really weak. Someone of Madonna or Janet Jackson’s caliber should have presented the vanguard award and not GaGa who clearly seemed to annoy the audience as well.

    • freedom speaks

      I agree. The whole act was ok during her performance, but it got really old during the Britney, er, Beyonce tribute. I agree that it should have been Janet since it is the ‘Michael Jackson Vanguard Award” & both Britney and Bey have been influenced by Michael.

      • kalo

        The whoile Britney accepting an tribute was a joke. she did not deserve the award so thanks to Joe for laughing through out the award. She is not on Mj , Janet or Madonna level. MTV was kissing her ass like usual.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via
        Celebmingle.C óM is the largest and best club for celebrity and their admirers to chat online. …You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • The Edge of Coffin

        She is not yet Madonna..not even Janet Jackson level of performance. She thinks she is..sad isnt it?

    • lily

      I find this weirder than the meat dress and the egg etc.
      I am a 28 years old doctor, mature and beautiful.and now I am seeking a good man who can give me real love , so i got a username Lindasunny2002 on–a’ge’l’es’s’da’te.c óm–.it is the first and best club for y’ounger women and old’er men, or older women and y’ounger men,to int’eract with each other. Maybe you wanna ch’eck ‘it out or tell your friends!

    • KLH

      First of all, it was kind of boring. But it was no biggie. Glad she didn’t wear platforms or a costume that would have prevented her playing the piano or dancing. However, after her song (which was great) she should have canned it!!

      • KLH

        or to sum it up “old” “fast”

    • Gag.

      I feel someone is about 5 minutes from a breakdown.

    • Tia Amelia

      Adele is not a clown like Gaga….. true talent. Gaga is garbage just like her fashion, music and art.


      • The Fame Donkeys

        When she 1st started she was kind of interesting. Now it has become more and more delusional and cheap. Kind of ‘look at me, I am cool’ buy my records. She agrees to sell album for 99cents. Thats kind of desperate and class-less. And her ‘new’ album is not an album of the year.

        I am so done with her.

    • glamwriter

      i agree, and they showed her ugly wide eyed face during Beyonce’s baby moment. It was like gaga was surprised that someone could steal her “Jo” spotlight.

    • Joanna

      That’s Gaga’s alter (she like many a-listers have mpd). It wasn’t a show after the VMA’s her puppet masters left her in her alter’d state. She has no control.

  • Regina

    I’m sorry. I just don’t like her anymore and regardless of your opinion on the transgender/gay debate, you got to admit this was pretty…I don’t know how to say it, I just felt so sad watching her. I mean really, it’s so clear she has lost herself into the fame which, yes, she wanted but it just came across as so demonic. Heck, I’m 18 and I felt like a grandpa watching this show, thumbing my nose at all the crap that is being fed to my generation.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      I don’t know if anyone here is old enough to remember but around 25 years ago Annie Lennox, at the time with Eurythmics, performed Sweet Dreams on the Grammys dressed as an Elvis-y dude. Of course she was amazing, and she was back as herself after the performance, but it was all people were talking about the next day.

      • dntbstpd1

        Needless to say, but still relevant…Annie who?

        Point being this day and age, hardly anyone knows who Annie, Eurythmics are…nor do they know what Sweet Dreams is….

        Is GaGa going down the same path?

        I actually like her a LOT! but this was too much, if the character had been cool, or not annoying, then maybe i’d haev liked it, but ‘Joe Gaga’ was just annoying as hello.

      • teresa

        Didn’t Annie Lennox peform the music for Lord of the rings and win a Grammy??

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Annie won the Best Song Oscar for Return of the King. She’s still making great music and is very involved with many charities. Sweet Dreams is a classic song, and I expect Eurythmics will make it into the RnR Hall of Fame before long.

      • Mike

        She also likes walking on broken glass and then asking WHY a lot. :-)

  • Gretchen Weiners

    Hopefully this is the last time we see GaGa’s alter ego. I’m slowly losing interest in her….

    • Jason

      GTFO of here Gretchen Weiners!!!

      • Damien

        She doesn’t even go here!!

      • dntbstpd1

        She is so not fetch!

  • Cha

    So I like gaga But this is just creepy and weird

  • Joy

    The whoile Britney accepting an tribute was a joke. she did not deserve the award so thanks to Joe for laughing through out the award. She is not on Mj , Janet or Madonna level. MTV was kissing her ass like usual.

    • albert

      Hello? Where have you been during the last decade? It makes sense that MTV would give her this type of award. No one has had more talked about performance during the last decade the her. It’s not the Grammys. It’s MTV. And she has been like their mascot since she first debuted. Not sure why people aren’t getting it.

      • tom

        TOTALLY not deserving of this award. She has been more of a tabloid freak show than an artist who has contibuted so much to the music business. All she brought to the industry was how to dance/perform like a whore…and that it was ok for kids 13yrs old to wanna dress and be like one. Gross and innapropriate role model…not even a great voice.

      • Me2

        Britney does NOT deserve that award. She’s a talentless, auto-tuned hack. Anyone can “sing” like Britney, all you have to do is sing through your nose, and alter it so you sound like a 5 year old and then add auto-tune. I’m only 30, and I feel sorry for this generation who feel that Britney and the pop-stars of today (excluding Adele, who is amazing) are going to be relevant in 15 years or that they had any kind of influence in music.

  • Vee

    It was whatever the only thing that shocked me was I had no idea she was so short.

  • Lady GooPoo

    ga ga fa fa ma ma i suck a la. ta ta.

  • Maybe she’s really a man

    I cant stand gaga but i thought this was pretty funny. I think she should continue with this man thing. Haha

    • True Blue

      I thought it was funny too, but I guess people either have no sense of humor or just love to bash her no matter what.

      • Elle

        Or maybe they just thought it wasn’t funny.

      • tipsy

        Opening monologue was great albeit on a long side. But the act was totally misplaced everywhere else especially during the Brittney tribute where Gaga looked like an attention wh0re. It was Brittney moment and she was there invading her space and diverting attention to himself.

  • Gina

    Jo’s performance might just be the single most iconic moment in vma history. Wow!

    • Drew

      Gaga’s fans are really delusional….

      • Time to pack and go home

        LGG is a straight Las Vegas Madonna’s impersonator with no sub$tance…just commercially blunt and quite snooze fest.

    • Haley

      I wouldn’t go as far as “most iconic”, but her act didn’t bother me as much as it did other people. It had its moment…the only thing I didn’t like was when she sort of interrupted Britney during her acceptance speech. Other than that, all’s I can say is that at least she wasn’t boring…

      • @Gina

        It’s pretty obvious to all that you have absolutely no idea what the word “iconic” means.

    • Jim Dugan

      If you think anything “iconic” happens at the MTV Video Music Awards then I truly feel sorry for you

  • Phil

    Look, I’m smart enough to know how ‘committed’ Gaga is when it comes to her art, and honestly, this was performance art. It was a chance for her to act like an idiot all night. (I’m part Italian). Rumors that she is trying to be more than a musical guest on SNL next year seem likely with these kinda theatrics. I mean, GOD, she goes to one awards show without changing into a million costumes or wearing meat and she still gets criticized for it….If anything it seems Gaga’s alter ego may come out and play with Nicki Minaj’s Roman…just sayin’….

    • Jo was a fun break from the norm…

      Thanks, Phil. I agree with your comment completely. When looking at a bigger picture, I can see how she’s continually stretching herself into different territories. She obviously has a bigger canvas in her mind and is painting a much larger concept than what all her critics only see in each specific moment. I’m not sure where she’s headed but I think last night’s latest incarnation was a hit and I loved her dedication to the character. I thought it was funny as hell and once again showed how she truly doesn’t care about her “looks” when it comes to what others think about her, which is one of the most refreshing qualities about her… especially when others are so concerned with “perfect” appearances. Lady Gaga has always said since the beginning that she wanted to bring the “showbiz” back to show business. That is something she has continually honored in every appearance. I see strong hints of her style influence with the looks of Nicki Minaj and more so lately with Katy Perry who has also been dressing a little more “unique” compared to when she first came on the scene. I’m a fan and supporter of Gaga in a big way and will continue to support her because I like her fascination with thinking (and performing) outside of the box, so to speak.

      • LMAO!!

        One of the best moments was during Jo’s performance when the cameras cut to Justin Beiber in the audience who looked stunned silent. Jo looked and acted more manly than Beiber ever has. Ah sigh… it was a fun moment for me.

      • Templar

        Everything LG has ever done, with the possible exception of the meat dress which was unbelievably stupid, has been copied from other performers. Last night’s episode was taken from the character called Anybody’s, a tomboy who hung around the Jets in West Side Story. She [Gaga] is incredibly lame and a bit sad. Marilyn Manson part 2.

  • Mel

    I find it Ironic that Lady Gaga had to become someone else, in this case, “Jo Calderone” to express the importance of being who you are. Gaga’s little “performance art” was fine and dandy for HER performance. But of course, in Gaga style, she needed to continue to be obnoxious as if she felt her get-up didn’t give her the attention she craved.

    • tipsy

      Word,mate. It was fine for HER perforemnce but she had to drop it and let others have the spotlight when it was on them. Like Brittney tribute.



  • Kobolos

    I was oddly reminded of an interpretation of Ralph Macchio as Garth Brooks’ alter-ego Chris Gaines.

    • Anonymous

      The first thing that I thought of was Ralph Macchio’s character in the Outsiders.

  • cutitout

    It was douche-y and went on for too long. The expression on the faces of the celebs in the audience were priceless. They were not amused or shocked in a good way. Then he/she fell off the piano. HA. Then he/she tried and succeeded at making the Britney Tribute about him/her. It was lame.

    • yup

      You said it…It went on TOO LONG!!! It was tolerable in the beginning but then it got old, really really old.

      • teenah

        ….really really fast.

    • tipsy

      I actually gained respect for Justin Beieber because he watched gaga with a completely blank stare. While some others tried to suck up by producing obviously uncomfortable laughs, Biebs face said it all.

      • john

        Seriously?!?!? You must be “tipsy” if you just used the words ‘respect’ and ‘Justin Beiber’ in the same sentence. Justin’s blank expression is reflective of his inability to process any information other than the high-pitched squeals of pre-teen girls. I suppose if he’d performed some version of his Canadian street thug/I wanna be Justin Timberlake persona, you’d have loved it? Go pour yourself another round, Tipsy, and get your drunk on.

      • @john

        Well said “john!” I actually think Justin was studying Jo to find ways to be perceived as more manly.

      • Templar

        Don’t underestimate Beiber. He’s not the world’s greatest entertainer, but he’s savvy and is making some serious cash without humiliating himself. No, his career as a teen idol won’t last, but if he is careful he’ll be financially set up for life.

      • teresa

        For a second, I thought Justin was a girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • QJ201

      …the entire “JO” performance was very much like Andy Kaufman…staying in character saying somewhat pointless things all to make people uncomfortable.

  • Elizabeth

    If creating an alter-ego is a sign of creativity these days, we’re all in bigger trouble than I originally thought. Wish all these ladies — Gaga, Beyonce, Nicki — would just be themselves and evolve, not chew their tail off and regenerate a new one.

  • Tootz

    I find this weirder than the meat dress and the egg etc.

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