Kanye West taking time off after debacle

Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:14am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A day after Kanye West earned widespread scorn for upstaging Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards, the remorseful rapper said on Monday he would take time off to reflect on his behavior.

"... I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve," he told Jay Leno on the premiere episode of the comedian's new comedy show.

West has already apologized twice for hijacking the 19-year-old country starlet's moment in the spotlight at the high-profile awards show in New York. But he told Leno he has not yet been able to apologize to Swift in person.

He was loudly booed when he leaped on stage and grabbed the microphone from Swift as she was accepting the statuette for best female pop video for "You Belong With Me."

He declared it should have gone to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video, which he called "one of the best videos of all time." Swift stood in the background, her face frozen. After West handed her the microphone, she attempted to say something, but the sound had been cut off and she was escorted off by a stage manager.

The outburst on the live telecast was seen by some 27 million viewers -- the largest TV audience since 2002 for the annual MTV Video Music Awards, MTV said on Monday. Video of the incident was seen by some 2 million times on the MTV.com web site alone.

West told Leno that the aftermath had been "extremely difficult" for him to deal with.

"My entire life, I've only wanted to give and do something that I felt was right," he said, according to a transcript provided by NBC. "And I immediately knew in the situation that it was wrong, and it wasn't a spectacle or just -- you know, it's actually someone's emotions, you know, that I stepped on. And it was very -- it was just -- it was rude, period."   Continued...

<p>Kanye West takes the microphone from best female video winner Taylor Swift as he praises the video entry from Beyonce at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, September 13, 2009. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>