Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read This: The wild, Whitney Houston-filled saga of the long-lost MTV series Buzzkill

Illustration for article titled Read This: The wild, Whitney Houston-filled saga of the long-lost MTV series emBuzzkill/em

The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.


As anyone who watched MTV pretty much exclusively in 1996 knows, Buzzkill was the network’s first anarchic prank series. It ran before Jackass, before The Tom Green Show, and way, way before Punk’d.

The series, which starred Dave Sheridan, Travis Draft, Frank Hudetz, and Vince D’Orazi, ran for just seven episodes before getting cancelled for being too crazy. That’s a shame, because it was funny. Like, laugh out loud at Hudetz’s impression of Isaac Mizrahi funny. Unfortunately, It’s also basically unavailable online, save for a few “camera recording the TV” clips on YouTube.


Fortunately for other Buzzkill nerds, Seth Manning investigated what happened to the series for The Awl this week, and it’s a pretty fascinating story. Not only does Manning detail the genesis of the group and show, but he also goes into how talking to Whitney Houston at the VMAs nearly got the group fired. Check it out:

“MTV told us, 'You can fuck with anybody but Whitney Houston,'" Sheridan said. "She was their golden goose. We messed with David Spade, Shaq. We rolled up Shaq's pant legs and he left them like that. He thought, 'If Isaac's doing it, it must be stylish.'"

"At some point, Frank disappeared and wound up hanging out with Whitney's background singers," D'Orazi said. "They come walking out with Frank and say, 'You gotta say hi to Whitney.' And we're like, 'Oh shit.'"

"It wasn't our fault!" Draft said. "Whitney came to us."

"She heard Isaac was there and she came to us!" Sheridan said. "We were doing it to show how fake these celebrities are. Like with retakes: We said we didn't get a shot of her running up and hugging Isaac and asked if she could do it again, and scream louder. And she did. Then one of the producers told her, 'You know that's not really Isaac?' She flipped out."


Oh, the mid-‘90s. Anyway, the piece also goes into why the show eventually tanked (it has a lot to do with the invention of cell phones and peoples’ ability to call 911) and what the cast is up to now. It’s well worth a read at some point this weekend and maybe, just maybe, if the Internet wishes hard enough, someday the episodes of the show will pop up again online someday.

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