I discovered today the most frightening, low-rent talent show that has ever existed. It was called Stairway to Stardom, and appeared on public access in New York City in the early 1980s, but could just as convincingly have taken place in some post-apocalyptic bomb shelter. I have no clue why any of the “performers” would have participated in this horror show other than that they were held hostage and forced to humiliate themselves at gunpoint by a handful of brutish and lawless global thermonuclear war survivors in exchange for food and shelter from the radiation.
It all started when I came across Melissa Ann Lewdon’s terrible tap dance on this LiveJournal entry. Obviously having no clue at all how a piano works (or how fashion does either, for that matter), she slumps right into what is probably the most mechanical and empty tap dance I have ever seen. She may be smiling, but you can tell she’s dead on the inside. The best part comes at 1:47, by the way. Relative definitions of “best” apply, of course.
Sticking with the same terrible outfit, let’s take a look at Jennifer Jorgensen’s equally soulless clacking. Confused half-grimace plastered to her face, she does her best to convince us she can still feel love or pain or happiness or even shame, but it proves a depressing failure. Try not to stare for too long or you’ll die a little, too.
Next, like wasabi injected into your ear canals, Mike Weiss gives us his stuttering, off-key rendition of Olivia Newton John’s “I Honestly Love You”. I’m pretty sure the song would’ve had better timing if you dropped a running Discman down an escalator. What makes this one special is that the normally gushing Eric-Idol-looking host pokes fun at the poor kid at the end. Not as though he doesn’t deserve it of course, but if the guy who thinks that some of these others are quality acts derides your performance, you’re doing something wrong.
Then, there’s Gloria Huddle, an obviously insane, deathmasked horror who makes Shelly Duvall look like Rachael Leigh Cook and sings like she’s having an asthma attack in her sole, leatherized lung. Maybe if she popped it up an octave, she wouldn’t sound like she was using her vocal cords to dredge her small intestines. I’m also a little disappointed, because when she started talking about how she wanted information, I was hoping it was going to be a song about The Prisoner. Anyway, sorry lady: Jesus filed a restraining order and switched to an unlisted number. Maybe try Buddha?
Next up, Michelle Sutlovich, dressed in a lampshade, shows us her patented “there are spiders all over this floor and I have to squish them all” dance. People will see her and die, all right.
Just when I thought I’d seen the worst comedy act that has ever existed, rife with retarded racial references, childish toilet humor, explained punchlines, and the only jokes about tragic child abuse that have ever failed to make me laugh, I stumble onto this asshole, whose horrid, forced routine has a half dozen classic comedians spinning so aggressively in their graves that they’re slowing the rotation of the Earth. Good lord. Even the normally-easily-impressed audience doesn’t laugh at his tumbling boulders of anti-hilarity.
And finally, with a mullet that would probably even look excessive on a horse, Hillary Clinton — er, I mean, Lucille Cataldo — shrieks an ORIGINAL COMPOSITION (so no stealing) about her shitty hair dresser and then has some kind of grand mal seizure. I keep waiting for her to pull out a riding crop and take a ride on a nude, hairy man in a gimp mask crawling across the stage.
I’ll leave you with these for now, but I assure you — and as you can probably tell from the “Related Videos” panes — there’s plenty more of this shit. For some reason. It’s scary that someone out there has an endless supply of this horrific show on a bunch of VHS tapes.
(Thanks to ascendance for a few of the quips in this one.)