Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Crossed Up
Howard Stern will always be successful. The reason for this is because there will always be 13 year old boys, no matter how hard we try to eliminate them with a toxic mixture of TV, Mountain Dew and Taco Bell food.

I'm not going to lie, I don't understand the appeal. How a guy with Stern's horrible, toneless voice got a job in radio in the first place is beyond me (and yes, I've seen Private Parts, so technically I do actually know, I'm talking rhetorically here). I've also been confounded by the idea of listening to someone ogle strippers and porn-stars on the radio, but apparently that's the formula for success. Say things like "Oh my God, look at you" (again, to your radio audience) and "Let me see your breasts" and then repeat the word "vagina" at least once every quarter hour.

Oooh, wait. I get it all of a sudden. Never mind.

Howard had the book and then the movie, so he's had some success crossing over into other media. His television show is small, on late and relegated to E! in between True Hollywood Storys. But for the most part, Howard Stern is the exception. Crossing over is a difficult thing to pull off. Anyone who's heard William Shatner sing or Regis Philbin act knows what I'm talking about.

For a more recent and high-profile example, look at Michael Jackson's just-cancelled reality show. First of all, way over-promoted. Second, couldn't they have chosen a better topic? Child molestation is just so creepy. By the end of it, I'm sure you were all thinking what I was thinking, that Michael should stick to the genre that made him famous, being America's resident Famous Crazy Person. Sleep in your hyperbaric chamber, fondle your Elephant Man bones, groom your monkey, just leave the cameras out of it. Whoever commissioned that show should be fired.

Some crossovers are as terrible as you'd expect, but still succeed by sheer force of the performer's will (see: Jennifer Lopez's "singing" career), but most fail, as they should. My favorite example is the Fabulous Sports Babe. The Fabulous Sports Babe was one of the rare female voices in sports talk radio. She gave herself that name and I'm sure many, many men were willing to fill in the imaginitive and perverse blanks in their minds when they would picture her. So then some genius decided it was time for the Fabulous Sports Babe to cross over into television, to cash in on her vast radio popularity by putting a camera in the studio to tape her radio show and then run it on ESPN.

Turns out the Fabulous Sports Babe was a 60 year old woman who weighed (I'm not kidding) roughly 500 lbs. Cram all that into a tiny radio broadcast booth and then point a camera at it and you have probably the least telegenic sight ever committed to videotape. As far as I know, the Fabulous Sports Babe is no longer in the business.

Let that be a cautionary tale, bloggers. We all think we're J-Lo, but how many of us are actually the Fabulous Sports Babe?

The reason I ask is because I've recently learned one of my favorite bloggers, the Rude Pundit, is putting together a stage show based on his blog.

Please, Rude Pundit, I beg you. If you're going to make a run at another medium, do what Wonkette is doing and write a book, something.

I'm terrified. Why am I terrified? Because live-action versions of websites usually end up train wrecks. Don't believe me? They once tried to do a television version of dork-entertainment-news site Ain't It Cool News featuring the site's creator and managing editor, Harry Knowles. Wanna see what Harry Knowles looks like?

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It's the Fabulous Sports Babe all over again.

Don't do it, Rude Pundit. Yeah sure, maybe you'll do fine and nobody--nobody--can actually look as bad as Harry Knowles, but the potential for disaster is so high it frightens me. Unless you've got a gravity-defying J-Lo booty to bail you out and cover for any perceived lack of ability in your new medium, you've got a tough row to hoe, mister. A tough row to hoe.

The petition to Save The Rude Pundit starts here. If disaster strikes and the Rude Pundit empire crumbles, we're going to be stuck getting all our happy left-wing pre-formed thoughts and arguments from Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo. TPM is a fine site and chock full of information, but as far as I know it's never featured George Bush masturbating onto the Constitution. Not once. And we need that as a people.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.4



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