Saturday, May 16, 2009

Remember Richard Bey?

There once was a local NYC talk show, broadcast on Channel 9 from 1987 to 1996, that was so trashy, so bizarre, so over the top wild, that you hated it but couldn't look away.

The Richard Bey Show was a direct influence on shows like Jerry Springer and, in many ways, laid the groundwork for people like Howard Stern to become mainstream (this is perhaps a dubious honor but there's no question about their impact on the culture).

Richard Bey would interview people about their sex lives and stuff like that but the show's funniest gags would be things like the Mr Punyverse Contest (skinny white men tethered to fat black women who would then race each other) or Queen of the Trailer Park (trailer park women competing for the title based on who had the most miserable trailer park living conditions).

This was freak show entertainment at its lowest -- or maybe its finest? -- level and, considering what our presidential elections have become, who's to say that shows like Richard Bey were that bad? Talking about presidential elections, allegedly, the Richard Bey show was canceled in 1996 because he interviewed Gennifer Flowers around the time of Clinton's re-election and the powers that be were angry and pulled the plug.

After his show was canceled, Bey had a short career in radio but was fired in 2003 because he openly opposed the Iraq War.

Talking about getting it from both sides!

Richard Bey disappeared from the media spotlight for a while but it sounds like he's mounting some kind of comeback. There's a long article about him in the New York Observer and he'll be appearing as himself in the new Bruno movie. It'll be interesting to see if he becomes cool again. I sure hope he does.


  1. Go Richard! Go Richard! OMG I can't believe I'm admitting this but I had a crush on Richard back in the day. He was sort of like Greg Kinnear's dorkier cousin or something. Oh and btw, his show was filmed in Secaucus, NJ ;)

  2. This topic is simply matchless :), it is interesting to me.


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