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File:Celebrity Deathmatch 6888.jpg
"Let's get it on!"
Mills Lane, referee

Celebrity Deathmatch is a 1998 Claymation animation series broadcast on MTV.

The concept behind this show is that celebrities would fight each other to the death in the ring, Claymation-style.

The show first premiered on MTV's 1997 animation show, Cartoon Sushi, with Marilyn Manson killing Charles Manson by ripping his skeleton out through his mouth. After it became a success, "Deathbowl 98" was released and shown during the Super Bowl XXXII halftime show. Eventually, it began running as a weekly series first on MTV from 1998 to 2002, then Un Cancelled to MTV2 for two more seasons in 2006 and 2007.

There was also a fighting game released for the Play Station, Play Station 2, X Box, and Windows PCs. It was also planned for a Game Cube release.


Celebrity Deathmatch provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: While some celebrities (such as Janeane Garofalo) and relatives of celebrities (such as The Game's father) took offense at their portrayals, others thought they were great. Tommy Lee, for example, loved the way in which he defeated Ron Jeremy, as did Jennifer Lopez regarding how she beat Dolly Parton -- she only wondered why they gave her a different accent. Weird Al Yankovic would actually frequently show a section of his fight with Al Gore during his live tours, despite ultimately losing that one.
  • As Himself: Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, Chyna, Mick Foley (seeing a pattern?), Marilyn Manson, Lucy Lawless, Chris Kattan, Mills Lane, and Debbie Matenopoulos have all voiced themselves on the show.
    • In a related note, several celebrities shown as participants on the show have mentioned they would have actually done their own voices if they had been asked to.
  • Ass Shove: Al Gore wins his fight against "Weird Al" Yankovic by pulling a stick out of his ass (the "executive branch") [1] and beating him with it. That stick? A very large tree.
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: After 98 Degrees' Humongous Mecha malfunctions and goes on a rampage through the city, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin tries to use his enlarging ray to turn himself into a giant in order to stop them. It malfunctions, and hits Jessica Simpson instead.
    • Not to mention Blink 182's mecha, against which the aforementioned boy band was fighting, and which was destroyed (with Tom, Mark and Travis still inside no less).
  • Back From the Dead: Several celebrities show up even though they've been killed before, like John Tesh, David Letterman, and Bono.
    • And ones that had died before the show as well, like Bob Marley and Keith Richards. No, wait, that latter one was a mistake.
    • A fair amount of the fights involving dead celebrities was made possible due to the CDM Time Machine.
    • It was a running gag in the first season that Don King was frequently killed in the audience
  • Berserk Button: Has helped combatants before, like Queen Latifah against LL Cool J.
    • Do not try to take over the world or Nick Diamond will pull your brain out through your eye socket.
    • Try to hurt an animal in Bob Barker's presence, he'll rip your ovaries out. Anne Robinson learned this the hard way.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In one match, Tom Hanks gets beaten up by Sean Penn at first, but the tables turn when Sean Penn beats up a random photographer, angering Tom Hanks.
    • "I AM LEANN FUCKING RIMES!!!"
    • Also, Mahatma Gandhi. Though that was because he had his cerebro-spinal fluid (and, essentially, his personality) swapped out with that of Genghis Khan.
    • Keith Flint thought it would be a great idea to pick a fight with Canadian woman, thinking she was an easy target... BIG MISTAKE.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The revival tended to be this, with the bloodshed being more exaggerated.
  • Bloody Hilarious
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the early seasons, there have been several nods to the show's claymation animation.
  • Breast Expansion: In the earlier seasons Pamela Anderson's breasts were more like the real Pamela's, but for the season 5 redesign they were expanded to a ridiculously exaggerated size.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: The match between Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow saw the ring decorated like a sitcom set. When it collapses (killing the combatants), referee Mills Lane survives through this method.
  • Cain and Abel: Russel Simmons vs. Rev Run, Emilio Estevez vs. Charlie Sheen, Mary Kate Olsen vs. Ashley Olsen.
  • Call Back: At the end of the "Sex, Lugs, and Rock and Roll" episode, Nick falls off of the announcer's booth and appears to be unconcious. Johnny's reaction? "Nick! Oh no, not again!"[2]
  • Catch Phrase: Many characters have at least one; see the character sheet.
  • Claymation
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Done at least twice. The first time, the contest winner had his spleen ripped out by John Tesh after he requested it, feeling that it would be an honor. The second time, the contest winner's soul was sold to the Devil by the hosts in exchange for the souls of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, who fans had requested to fight each other (they had both been killed in previous matches -- the Backstreet Boys by the Beastie Boys, and *NSYNC by KISS).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Nick Diamond may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but try to take over the world...
    • OR try to take his job by claiming he and Johnny are dead...
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The Lock Ness Monster VS. Bigfoot. Nessy wins in seconds. Heavily Lampshaded as everyone present was expecting the longest fight in the history of deathmatch.
    • Same with the season 5's rematch of Shaq vs. Kobe Bryant. Shaq ends the fight by lifting and choking Kobe with one hand and then tearing his head off with the other.
  • David vs. Goliath: David Spade vs. Steven Seagal
  • Deadly Game: The entire premise.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: "Fandemonium I" features a giant killer fan wheel during the Adam Sandler vs Chris Rock fight.
  • Did Not Do the Research: An interesting case, as this show generally averts this trope, yet there were two jarring mistakes made in the Buster Keaton vs. Charlie Chaplin match:
    • A: Fatty Arbuckle makes an apperance in the audience, and Johnny makes a comment that he will have a long, good career. However, if you know anything about Arbuckle, you'd know that in 1921 he was arrested for allegedly raping and killing a young actress at a party. Despite the fact he was innocent, the controversy effectively (among other things) ruined his career. This fight took place in 1928, long after his career had been destroyed.
    • B: Johnny makes a comment about how the train Keaton uses to win is from "[his] masterpiece, The General". The General, despite being considered a classic now, bombed when it came out in 1926, just two years before this fight.
  • Do Not Call Me Mark: On an episode where The Undertaker (voiced by him) fought a demon named Captain Doody, Doody taunted him by calling him by his real name, Mark (Callaway).
    • Captain Doody!
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The 2nd Halloween episode had, among other things, zombies laying siege to the arena, led by the zombified corpse of the show's first interviewer, Stacy Cornbred, looking to get her job back by any means necessary.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Said show is called "Celebrity Deathmatch". ...OBVIOUSLY this is about some kind of political satire!
    • Also cropped up when Rage Against the Machine fought the Machine... which was a killer robot. Tom Morello was quick to call this out.
  • Eye Scream: See Gag Penis below.
  • Fake Brit: Whenever British people turn up, they always have Cockney accents. Even if they're the Gallagher brothers (from Manchester) or the Spice Girls (variously from Hertfordshire, Yorkshire and Merseyside).
  • Fan Service: A lot from when Debbie Matenopolous was around.
    • Not to mention the Naomi Campbell vs. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos fight. All we'll tell you for now is that due to a cheese related mishap, they had to fight in their "undergarments".
  • Fighting Series: Nothing but celebrities beating each other up.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In one of the Halloween episodes Nick had to figure out a way to bring back the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC who had died in a previous fight...he completely forgets that he has access to a Time Machine that has brought lots of previously dead celebrities beforehand.
  • Funny Background Event: At the very beginning of the Jamie Kennedy vs. Ali-G fight. As Ali-G tosses his script away, Mills Lane is hit in the head with it in the background and falls over the ropes. Blink, and you'll miss it.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Moral Guardians, the B.O.O.B. (Broadcasters Opposing Offensive Behavior).
  • Gadgeteer Genius: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who, during the course of the show, has built a time machine, multiple Humongous Mecha, an enlarging ray, and genetically engineered mutant fighters made from the DNA of dead celebrities.
  • Gag Boobs: The fight between Dolly Parton and Jennifer Lopez has the two combatants being given special armor that would enlarge, respectively, their breasts and their butt and allow them to be used as weapons. Plus, the fight between Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee has Pamela crushing Tommy's skull between her breasts.
  • Gag Penis: Tommy Lee vs. Ron Jeremy. That is all.
  • Gainaxing: Pamela Anderson's season 5 model does this.
  • Gilligan Cut: When using the Time Machine to retrieve Genghis Khan and Mahatma Gandhi, the machine malfunctions, prompting Nick & Johnny to assure the viewers that resident scientist Steve Austin will take care of everything. Cut to Austin kicking the time machine -- "Ah, stupid piece of crap!"
  • Gorn: Oh, you have no idea.
    • Most prevelant during seasons 5 and 6
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe, in the "Dean Martin vs. Jerry Lewis" fight[3], Nick barely avoided getting hit by Jerry Lewis, who was knocked out of the ring. Nick's response?

  Nick: We've had a lot of close calls here on "Celebrity Deathmatch", but it's going to take a lot more than a flying celebrity to take me out!"

 Nick Diamond:Hoist on his own Petard? Well I don't think the audience knows what "Petard" means. Cause I sure don't.

  • Hot Skitty-On-Wailord Action: Fran Drescher's voice attracts the attention of the Loch Ness Monster (who considers it a mating call). He pursues her offscreen, and she returns later riding on his back and looking very satisfied.
  • Humongous Mecha: Used in the Backstreet Boys vs. Beastie Boys match, and the Blink 182 vs. 98 Degrees match.
  • Identical Stranger: Helen Hunt vs. Leelee Sobieski. After winning the fight, Leelee has no trouble convincing everyone that she's Helen Hunt, going so far as to peel off the real Helen Hunt's hands and wear them as gloves, in case someone would check her for fingerprints.
  • I'm Melting: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos suffers from this after being sprayed with stomach acid. Complete with some dramatic last words.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: iTunes has made all the episodes of the revival and over a hundred fights from the original run available, but still, nearly half of the material from the first four seasons (including almost all of the commentary and storylines between the fights) can't be accessed legally. Fortunately, a lot of the stuff has been put back up on YouTube after Viacom's lawsuit against them failed.
    • To make things better, there are only three CDM tapes released (to this troper's knowledge): a supposedly "Greatest Hits" tape (consisting of 7 fights that are far from the show's "greatest hits"), and two compilation tapes (called "Celebrity Deathmatch: Round 1" and "Round Two").
  • Kent Brockman News: The entire commentary team.
  • Kill Sat: In one fight (taken from a time capsule from The Eighties), Ronald Reagan tried to kill Ayatollah Khomeini with the "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative satellite defense system. The first attempt failed and killed a random audience member, but the second attempt succeeded.
  • Made of Plasticine: Played in both trope sense and literal sense.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Horribly and hilariously played with in the Mariah Carey vs. Jim Carrey match. Guess how she won their match?
  • McLeaned: Stacy Cornbred suffered from spontanteous human combustion after her voice actress left the show.
  • Medium Blending: The first half of the Beavis vs. Butthead fight has the two drawn in 2D.
  • Missing the Good Stuff: One ep interrupts a fight with a totally pointless report that 'N Sync isn't breaking up. We miss some woman getting curb stomped.
  • Moral Guardians: One episode has one match (Tommy Lee vs. Ron Jeremy) being broadcast from an underground fight club in order to evade the censors. It doesn't work -- after Tommy Lee wins the match by gouging Ron Jeremy's eye out with his dick, Johnny and Nick get a very stern warning from the B.O.O.B. The next match (Alanis Morissette vs. Jewel) has Johnny and Nick finally getting arrested after Alanis celebrates her victory by stripping naked in front of the cameras.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: A common theme is that one combatant will be beaten up without getting a hit in, then make a comeback at the very end of the fight.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Oh. So. Brutally. Averted.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown / Curb Stomp Battle: Several matches, most infamously Andre Agassi vs. Tiger Woods, Pamela Anderson vs. Tommy Lee, and Mahatmas Gandhi vs. Genghis Khan. Andre, Pamela, and Gandhi won without a scratch.
  • Non-Indicative Name: On an episode dedicated to rap and hip-hop stars, Tally Wong was disappointed to learn that Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, Lil' Flip, Lil' Kim, Lil' Romeo, and Lil' Bow Wow are not actually "little people" (she had planned to ask them hard-hitting questions about what it was like living with dwarfism).
  • Nose Yodeling: The reason why they pit Eddie Vedder against Scott Stapp.

 Eddie Vedder: (while kicking Stapp three times) Give me back my vooo-ooo-oice!

Scott Stapp: (retributing the "favor" to Vedder) It's my voice too-ooo-ooo!

    • Vedder eventually wins by scraping Stapp's throat with a piece of barbed wire, which gives him a gravelly Tom Waits-like voice. Unfortunately, Waits himself is in the crowd, and he promptly gets down to the ring and beats Stapp to a pulp.
  • Odd Couple: The two commentators, Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond.
  • The Other Darrin: During the 2006-07 revival, Johnny Gomez, Nick Diamond, and Mills Lane were all recast. In Mills' case, he had a stroke, so he was no longer able to voice himself.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Each show would start with a disclaimer saying that No Celebrities Were Harmed during the making of this show, and then adding at the end, "Anyway, it's just clay!"
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: The John Rocker vs. Derek Jeter fight. Unsurprisingly, John Rocker doesn't get the most sympathetic of portrayals, and is electrocuted to death by the match's end.
  • Professional Wrestling: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Vince McMahon, and Chyna all appeared as themselves on this show. Austin was a regular cast member, providing commentary for the matches, and served as the science and weapons advisor.
  • Popularity Power: Subverted at times. Most infamously, the "Weird Al" Yankovic vs. Al Gore fight.
  • Purity Personified:
    • Mandy Moore. Her sweetness doesn't stand up so well when it's put up against Pink.
    • Hilary Duff was also portrayed as this in comparison to her competitor, Lindsay Lohan. Unlike Moore, however, she wins her fight, even using her purity as a weapon to get God to help her out (He spawns a ton of alcohol to distract Lindsay with).
    • Also, in the first season, Brandy Norwood is shown like this when put up against Courtney Love. Brandy, too, wins her fight after she sics a cub bear on Love.
    • Subverted with LeAnn Rimes, for which this is just a front: when her façade slips, she becomes a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking psycho, interested in torturing Ol' Dirty Bastard in every imaginable way. In the end, she loses.
  • Raging Stiffie: In the battle between the Osbourne kids and the Olsen Twins, Jack Osbourne gets a fatal one after Mary-Kate whispered in his ear that she and Ashley sometimes shower together.
  • Real Person Fic: With this show's premise, it's to be expected that most fanfics would feature real celebrities brutalizing each other. The show's section on Fanfiction.net wound up getting discontinued for using real people and describing brutal violence without an appropriate rating (even though most writers rated their fics T or M for obvious reasons).
    • The show itself is arguably an example.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Parodied. Oliver Stone arranges for one of these shots after he beats Martin Scorsese... only for the camera to slip off the crane and kill him.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-universe example, where hosts Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond are unhappy with new, egotistical sideline reporter Debbie Matenopoulos (formerly of The View) when she replaced Stacy Cornbred, who was killed several episodes earlier. Especially Nick, who is constantly arguing with her; Johnny doesn't seem to have much of a negative opinion of Debbie.
    • Played more straight with some fan reaction to Tally Wong after the show was Un Cancelled. Interestingly enough, this time it's Johnny who can't stand the interviewer's guts, while Nick is more on the neutral side.
  • Reset Button: Since this is a claymation cartoon, this occurs quite a bit. Perfect example: The arena was shown blown up at the start of "A Celebrity Deathmatch Special Report", and remained that way for the entire episode. The next episode, "Blink-182 vs. 98 Degrees"? Not a scratch.
    • Averted in 3 cases:
      • 1. Nick, after falling off of the announcer's booth in "Celebrity Deathmatch Goes to the Movies" ends up in a coma until he forces himself awake in "Nick's Return", two episodes later.
      • 2. At the end of "The Prophecy", Stacy Cornbread spontaniously explodes. She remains dead for the rest of the series.[4]
      • 3. In "Family Night II", Nick is divorced by his wife so she can marry David Letterman. This too remains permanent.
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Featured on the show and fought against Harrison Ford. He motherf*ckin' lost the motherf*ckin' fight.
  • Schizo-Tech: The Celebrity Deathmatch Time Machine was made using an old refrigerator.
  • Shown Their Work: Crops up here and there, mostly during the fights through Johnny and Nick's commentary).
  • Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: There was a fight based off of this. Literally; it had Kevin Bacon taking on all comers, and two out of the three who took him on were pissed about his game.
    • The other was Martin Lawrence, but since he was too crazy and dehydrated to fight, Mills forced Kevin to mercy kill him.
    • The game itself played a part in the fight. The requirement for this was that Kevin Bacon's co-stars could challenge him; the game was used on said two out of three to justify them being there (since Meg Ryan and Jesse Ventura didn't actually work with Bacon directly).
  • Southern-Fried Genius: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: In one episode it appears that referee Mills Lane is about to suffer from this, but it turns out it's just gas. Later, interviewer Stacy Cornbred starts showing signs of it, and Nick Diamond and Johnny Gomez think it's just gas... until she suddenly explodes.
  • Squash Match: The Loch Ness Monster kills Bigfoot in six seconds, before the bell rang. The audience were angry at this, and Austin called that match a "six-second suckfest".
  • Stage Mom:
    • The Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff fight featured Dina Lohan in full-on Stage Mom mode, constantly making excuses for her daughter's troubling behavior.
    • A male example is Mathew Knowles, who is revealed to have implanted a microchip in his daughter's brain to control her every move. When Missy Elliott finds out, she grabs the remote control from him and uses it to make Beyonce humiliate herself.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In the Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff fight, it is strongly implied (and eventually revealed) that Nick Diamond is stalking Lindsay. After Lindsay loses, Nick brings her back to life using the time machine.
  • Stop Motion
  • Stylistic Suck: One episode features the discovery of a time capsule with a cheaply done, Totally Radical faux-version of the show from The Eighties where Boy George fights Don Johnson (with Ronald Reagan as the guest referee). It's possibly the show's finest moment.
  • Take That: Combatants will often insult each other between blows, and the commentators' dialogue is also full of Take Thats.
  • They Killed Kenny: In the first few episodes, Don King would routinely get killed. Eventually, he would enter a Deathmatch of his own (against Donald Trump), where he would be killed off for good.
  • Time Travel: The Celebrity Deathmatch Time Machine is used to bring back historical figures to fight each other, as well as celebrities who have been killed in past fights. In one episode, the machine accidentally sucks Debbie Matenopoulos back in time, causing Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond to use the time machine to go back in time to ancient Rome (where Nick fights a satyr in the Coliseum), Victorian London (where Sherlock Holmes fights Jack the Ripper), and the age of the dinosaurs.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Several cases, but one that comes to mind is the Paul Reubens vs. George Michael fight. Before the fight, Reubens (in character as Pee Wee Herman) said that the secret word for the fight would be "sucker", and that when he shouted it, the crowd was to start screaming wildly. Later in the fight, Reubens tricked Michael into taming a tiger and making it go to sleep... only for Reubens to shout "Sucker!" Yeah, George kinda deserved that one.
  • Trope 2000: The name of the third Fandemonium episode is "Fandemonium 2000".
  • Un Cancelled: As it turned out, not the best idea.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Well, more or less a subplot, but the episode "In The Head of Nicky Jr." basically involved the aforementioned Nicky Jr. having people end up in his head ala "Being John Malkovich". (Ironicly, John Cusack and John Malkovich fought in this episode over that very movie.)
  • What Could Have Been: To think that this show's glory years were before the rise of the Internet, My Space and YouTube celebrities, Perez Hilton and TMZ...
  • What Have I Done:
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof: In a variant that has Steve Irwin spend his time in the ring doing a running naturalists' commentary on the Medusa he was supposed to be fighting.
  • Wimp Fight: Jerry Seinfeld vs. Tim Allen. Ended with the cast of Seinfeld storming the ring to beat up Jerry for canceling the show, which the audience found far more entertaining.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Occurred during the fight between Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal, when the hosts had to avoid making explicit reference to Doc Ock, who Jake had brought in to attack Tobey. Instead, they referred to him as "a certain eight-armed villain from a certain hit superhero film" (paraphrasing from memory; that's probably not what they actually said).
  • X Meets Y: The Soup meets The Running Man.
  • Your Head Asplode: Some deathmatches end this way. Example: in one of the first episodes, Mariah Carey, during her fight with Jim Carrey, sings a VERY high note, much to the displeasure of everyone in the arena. The intensity of the note proves to be too much for Jim, whose head expands like a balloon before exploding.
    • Happens again in Jack Black vs. Jack White, where Jack White puts a button-up shirt with a slightly small collar on Jack Black, causing his head to explode. I know some of the fights can have silly endings, but come on.

Notes

  1. Note -- this episode was made back during the 2000 election, when Gore was best known for being wooden, stiff and bland as opposed to an environmental crusader.
  2. the last time Nick fell off of the announcer's booth was in season 1's "Celebrity Deathmatch Goes to the Movies". The impact put him into a 3 episode long coma.
  3. which was being aired from the CDM Vault after Roger Ebert was flung into the announcer's booth, which caused Nick to fall off, putting him into a coma
  4. Except for "Halloween Episode II", where she came back as a zombie... only to be killed by Debbie Matenopolis.
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