Starway to Stairdom

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.)

26 thoughts on “Starway to Stairdom”

  1. Ditto to Walter Lovecraft’s comment. HELP ME!!!! Why do you have to share these things that make my brain hurt? I have so few cells left…I must protect them and now they are severely damaged. These images are going to haunt me for great periods of time. What scares me is that someone at some point in time actually thought this was talent and entertainment and video taped these disturbing images to share with generations of innocent people. Mercy!

  2. Ouch, that was painful. Now, I can’t sing, tapdance or do stand up comedy either, but at least I don’t show off my nontalent to the rest of the world.

  3. Och crivens! Dinnae ye scunners hae bigger problems tae tackle? BTW me best regairds tae me beloved sister Felis!
    The Right Reverend Kestrel

  4. @Walter Lovecraft: Coke started getting popular in the 70’s. 1982 was actually the peak of cocaine use in America….about 5.6% of people used it regularly back in those days. Coincidence?

    All I saw was that first comedy act. “Show your raviolis?” Is this guy fucking serious? I refuse to watch any of the others on this page after seeing that. It makes God cry.

  5. Well, Michelle seems to be enjoying herself fractionally more than her co-participants. But, see, this is what you get when you save those extra bucks by not springing for Lame Tap Class, and instead sit your kid in front of the TV with a hot glue gun and sequins. They get ideas. Ideas they are not even remotely capable of executing. Not to mention obvious panty lines, and probably some degree of chafing/loss of dignity.

    The ones involving adults were just excruciating. Which is to say, moreso than the rest uniformly were.

  6. I think Gloria Huddle is my favorite. The whole monologue to her friend Libby, the plastic face, breathless whisper-singing/speaking. The teeth, man, the teeth. The excruciating crapping-out-broken-glass look on her face as she tries to emote at the end.

    An instant classic.

  7. You missed the red-leotard clad Lola Perazzo dancing to Thriller. ROFLOL! I’m blind after watching that.

  8. The best part about the whole thing is that the people behind the camera, particularily whoever edited the whole thing together, are just as stunningly incompetent as anybody on stage.

  9. I had to go back to check out Precious…yes…like a car accident…you don’t want to look….but there is just something, something that makes you look again and then cringe from the horror of it all. Yes, Precious is that car accident. It is funny though, especially the ‘bash you head against the radiator’ part. The tears are the added bonus.

  10. Occasionally, a Jew might reject Judaism, or their Jewish heritage; Wayne Rubin is one of very few cases where Judaism herself unilaterally rejected him.

  11. There’s a Also there’s a video on Youtube posted by a guy who managed to get his hands on a Precious Taft action figure. Somehow Precious Taft managed to win the entire Internet years before its conception.

    Does enjoying the Precious Taft video make me a bad person?

  12. BreathingMeat: Enjoying the video of Precious Taft doesn’t make you bad but I would check into your health insurance to see if there is coverage for obsessive compulsive treatment. The fact that you know there is a Precious Taft action figure is a little troubling. JK

  13. Well, I had no clue about her, aside from seeing a link to her video on YouTube. But doing a search on “Precious Taft” found both her monologue and the video of the action figure in five minutes.

    Frankly, the fact that the monologue she performed actually was from a real play is disturbing to me.

    The video of the doll was mildly funny. Only wish the guy hadn’t padded it with three minutes of set up, talking about how this was one of his video blog entries, and his Tuesday episode would be delayed, or something. He might as well have read a page from the phone book.

  14. Thanks for the mind-scarring, Jabberwock. You’d think I’d know by now to just take your word for it and not investigate for myself. ):

  15. Two people who actually searched for Precious Taft!? Oh my Non-existing Supreme Being!!! Is this a potential fan club? By the way, does the action figure come with a dropping microphone? Just curious…..

  16. WTF?: Yes, as I recall, the action figure came with a removable (hence droppable) microphone. I had to sit through several minutes of a boring guy’s video blog to get to the action figure, so I won’t be checking my facts.

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