Lots of people do silly things on New Year’s Eve, especially when they drink.
Few people do those things on live TV in front of millions. CNN’s Don Lemon, however, is not like most people.
The normally strait-laced Emmy-winning journalist cut loose Saturday night, downing a few shots of tequila and standing on the bar while on assignment with coworker Brooke Baldwin in New Orleans, covering the New Year’s festivities from a music club.
“People are saying that I’m lit. Yeah, I’m lit. Who cares?” Lemon said at one point.
And all of that was more than an hour before midnight.
From there, things started to get a little weird. With about 35 minutes to go before 12 a.m., Lemon, who had been teasing social media followers and viewers about the possibility of getting a tattoo on the air, decided instead to get a piercing. In New York, co-host Kathy Griffin pushed for Lemon to pierce his nipple, and Lemon seemed open to the suggestion, but Baldwin and New York host Anderson Cooper intervened and persuaded him to pierce his ear instead.
Not long after that, Lemon started getting, um, very personal about his new year’s resolutions, telling Baldwin that he always lives his life to the fullest, but that he needed to do a better job of balancing his work with his personal life and that he was “open to a relationship.”
And then, the bombshell.
“I’m a bad person today,” Lemon told Baldwin, who incredulously asked Lemon, “Are we going there, right now?”
“I’m not selfish,” Lemon continued. “But I’m very self-centered. I’m not going to be as self-centered.
“But I don’t really do resolutions. I live my life to the fullest. I don’t care what people think of me. I do what I want, because it’s my life.”
Then, once New Year’s finally hit the central time zone, Lemon decided to sound off on the state of 2016, but he didn’t get very far before CNN finally decided it had had enough and cut off his mic.
“2016 was awful,” Lemon said, only for the audio feed to go dead briefly. When it was restored, only jazz music could be heard as shots of the New Year’s celebration were shown.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lemon’s actions proved to be a hit on social media, as he began trending on Twitter for several hours.
But believe it or not, this is not the first time Lemon has had maybe a little too much fun while on the job. Last year for the New Year’s Eve broadcast, #DrunkDonLemon trended on Twitter as the journalist downed champagne, got into a hot tub and made a comment about Griffin’s breasts, all on live television.
“I have to say, Kathy, nice rack,” Lemon said, while Baldwin and Cooper both looked on in seeming discomfort. “I didn’t know you had all of that going on there.”
And Lemon has not restricted his antics to New Year’s either. Earlier in 2016 at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Lemon gave the middle finger to comedian Larry Wilmore, who made a joke at Lemon’s expense as part of his speech, per The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2014 at the same event, he didn’t drink on air, but some Twitter users suspected that he may have imbibed off camera as he called colleague Wolf Blitzer, “Blitz Wolfzer” and several of his female coworkers “my angels.”
“You are out of control, Don Lemon. You are out of control,” Nischelle Turner said that night on air, according to a transcript.