As much as we love when interviews go according to plan, it’s arguably more enjoyable when they’re overtly awkward for one reason or another. For example, look at this short but sweet clip of Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor on MTV’s 120 Minutes back in 1989, as it’s delightfully bizarre.

Obviously, the interview took place during one of the series’ Christmas episodes, with Reznor showing up to promote Nine Inch Nails’ latest single, “Down in It,” from debut LP Pretty Hate Machine. As experimental ensemble the Ordinaries play in the background, Reznor and host Dave Kendall decorate a Christmas tree.

Kendall says, “Joke of the decade: How does Trent Reznor’s mother hang up his Christmas stocking? Answer? With a nine-inch nail!” Understandably, both men cringe and feign laughter at the abysmal pun.

Next, Kendall thanks Reznor for “coming by on this beautiful [and] snowy Christmas morning” and pauses for Reznor’s response.  Rather than play along, though, Reznor laughs to himself again – with his hands in his coat pockets – looking somewhat annoyed.

Kendall then asks if he has “any plans for another single [after “Down in It”]” and Reznor responds: “Actually, we’re working on a new single [“Head Like a Hole”] with [Pretty Hate Machine producer] Flood, which we’re gonna do momentarily.” His hair flip, shrug and smirk suggest that he couldn’t be more disinterested in where their conversation is going.

To be fair, Kendall looks equally apathetic (as well as unknowledgeable), and the pair remain seemingly indifferent and uncomfortable as they discuss NIN’s plans for the single, video and corresponding album tour. All the while, the Ordinaries’ forlorn chamber music adds to the unease.

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Check out the full clip below and let us know if you found it as cringe-worthy as we did!

Trent Reznor's 1989 ‘120 Minutes’ Christmas Special Interview Is SO Awkward

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That’s what it was created for, after all. Given MTV’s increased proliferation of such comedy and reality programs (among other genres) over the last 30 years, it can be easy to forget that, you know, MTV stands for Music Television.

Gallery Credit: Jordan Blum, Loudwire

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