A good video can make a career. “Bad Romance” launched Lady Gaga into superstardom. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” snagged the charismatic Sweet Brown several commercials, including one for a dentist and one for a car insurance company. In a few short minutes, or occasionally a few short seconds, a performer can captivate the nation’s collective imagination. If he is more than a fluke, he is allowed into the Pantheon of American Gods in Los Angeles, California.
However, as with any extreme, there is a counterpoint. In his book The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, John Seabrook says that the careers of Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna are intensely choreographed, even though they try hard to seem unrehearsed and natural. Beyonce, in a 2013 GQ interview, admitted that she has a room in Manhattan with virtually every frame of her ever captured. An unflattering video can, with a flick of the wrist, unravel all the painstaking crocheting celebrities do to their public persona.
Artists playfully refer to the constructedness of their persona. On “Mine” off of BEYONCE, Beyonce sings, “Been having conversations about breakups and separations,” challenging the staunchly gripped-to notion that she and Jay Z are the inseparable King and Queen of Hollywood. It titillated people. But when something happens outside of the celebrity's planned control, it sometimes does damage too severe to repair.
Are you ready? If so, stick around for the Hollywood’s 13 most career-ruining recordings.
9 David Hasselhoff DRUNK and HUNGRY
7 Mel Gibson RANTS
6 Ashlee Simpson LIP SYNCS On SNL
5 Rob Lowe Films UNDERAGE Sex
4 “Kony 2012” Director Recorded touching self in PUBLIC
3 Tom Cruise JUMPS on OPRAH’S Couch
2 Sinead O’Connor RIPS UP Picture of POPE
1 Michael Richards SCREAMS The N-WORD
“Fifty years ago, they’d have you hanging upside down with a [blank] fork up your [blank.] Throw his [blank] out! He’s a [n-word!]” Those are some excerpts from Michael Richards’ demented racist tirade at the L.A. Laugh Factory in 2006. Kyle Doss, a black man in the audience, had been playfully heckling Richards when all of a sudden the comedian burst out and starting insulting him. The man responded by telling Richards: “that was uncalled for.” In the tape, Richards rambles on a little bit more, and then Doss tucks into him, disparaging his career after Seinfeld, Richards' acme. Since the incidents at the Laugh Factory, Richards has been viewed as even more of a has-been and has gotten hardly any noticeable roles.
Sources: TMZ, LATimes, TheAtlantic, Gawker, RollingStone
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