Why Do We Love Watching Celebrities Falling?

From Madonna to Mugabe, the internet loves to see when—and how—the mighty fall. 

While performing at the Brit Awards earlier today, Madonna took an errant step backwards and ended up tumbling backwards down a small makeshift staircase. It was the fall heard ‘round the world—for today, at least.

“Celebrities falling” has become an artistic genre in its own right. Paparazzi know they’ve hit the jackpot when they catch a star losing their footing on the sidewalk. Concert-goers relish in filming the misstep that shatters an otherwise tightly choreographed routine. Viral aggregators salivate at the thought of a potential meme. I, for one, am a remarkable clumsy human and worry that laughing at these will lead to karmic retribution.

Why do we have such a widespread cultural fascination with celebrities falling? Are we all huge assholes? (Well, yes.) But besides that basic fact of human nature, these videos combine the mass appeal of “Stars: They’re Just Like Us” with any good blooper reel. Here are some of the mighty who’ve fallen:

Madonna’s backup dancers miraculously moved backwards with her to cover the misstep.


After 90-year-old Robert Mugabe fell, he denied that it happened and then fired his 27 bodyguards for allowing it to happen. Sounds reasonable.


When Jennifer Lawrence fell on her way to accept her Oscar, we just chalked it up to another one of America’s sweetheart’s wacky antics. 


During an interview, Courtney Love gave us an impressive, and rare, front tumble off her stool.


When supermodel Agyness Deyn fell twice during a fashion show, she took it incredibly gracefully. 

Rihanna went from dancing seductively to face-planting in the span of a few seconds. 

Lady Gaga showcased just one of the many risks that comes with dancing on a flaming piano. 

All we can see here is Kanye West hopping up, then going way down. His ego appears unharmed. 

Photos by FOX