Floating above the stage in a projection, he was heard to say “I needed the work” as the annual ceremony was opened.
It marks the latest appearance by the actor in an apparent comeback into the public sphere, following his victory in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against former partner Amber Heard.
In subsequent virtual appearances at the VMAs he declared that he is available for “birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes, anything you need… anything.
“Oh, I’m also a dentist,” he added.
It was recently announced that Depp is set to direct his first feature film in 25 years with Modi, about the Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani.
The announcement came a week after Depp confirmed his first starring role since claiming victory in his now infamous legal battle in Fairfax County, Virginia, earlier this year.
He will appear in the film Jeanne Du Barry, produced by French company Why Not Productions.
While awaiting the verdict in the trial, Depp made several appearances alongside musician Jeff Beck in the UK, at venues in London, Newcastle and Glasgow.