Before American Idol came along, people relied on cable access television for their fix of second hand embarassment. With the only barrier for entry being an inexplicable belief that you deserved to be on TV, the no-budget broadcasting platforms drew a flood of some of the most bat-shit insane characters ever seen outside the gates of an asylum. Here are seven of the most terrifying, surreal and all together hilarious moments ever broadcast on cable access TV.
Sondra Prill - Nasty Boys
The Story: Take a minute to decide whether you feel like laughing or crying, then hit play. Back in the mid-80s, Sondra Prill thought she was going to be the biggest thing to ever come out of Tampa, Florida. It might have actually happened if it hadn't been for one minor detail: she didn't have a lick of talent. None. When you watch clips from her short-lived show (which was creatively titled "My Show"), it's hard to tell if she's actually serious. Watch a handful of her other videos on YouTube and you might start to think that it was all an elaborate joke, that Sondra Prill was just some bizarre performance art piece or something. Take this as either proof that she was for real, or proof that she took the joke way too far: In 1992, Sondra rented out a 900-seat Tampa amphitheater to put on something called "A Musical Fantasy" as a Hurricane Andrew fundraiser. She charged up to $50 a ticket-the same theater hosted acts like Al Green and Patti LaBelle around that time for a maximum ticket price of $25. Amazingly, she managed to sell 41 tickets to the show. Which might mean that she did end up being the biggest act to ever come out of Tampa, Florida.
Why It Rules: While the borrowed fur (and the borrowed footage from another music video) help bring this clip to the brink of awesomeness, it's Sondra's complete dearth of talent that really gives it that extra push. Each awkward pelvic thrust, each attempt at a sexy come-hither look (which all come out looking more like demonic possession) put yet another nail into the no-talent coffin. Every time she screams "NASTY!" try to remember that she actually thought she was going to be a star. Every time she bugs her eyes out all crazy, try to remember that she probably thought it looked sexy. Remember this all, then listen to her lovely singing voice and die a little inside. As an added bonus, the dancer at 1:33 looks a lot like Val Kilmer in Real Genius, so it's got that going for it, too.