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Best Punk Moments In Talk Show History

Back when Oprah was fat(ter) and daytime TV was hardcore.

At one point in time, talk shows were interesting. Instead of having Tom Cruise leapfrog around on Oprah’s couch talking about how much he loves his soon-to-be wife, you had the Cro-Mags defending themselves against New York Post journalists making erroneous allegations about inner city hardcore. Audience members were able to speak. Springer wasn’t just about unrealistic accounts of cheating, bestiality, and wild strippers, but you would have controversial goofballs like GWAR grace the stage and cause a scene. It was a historical subcultural freakshow. What happened to daytime talk shows? They got vanilla, or maybe punk just got played out. Let’s remember some of the great moments when daytime television and punk rock knocked heads.



“If you think I’m doing this for the money, you are dead wrong. I’m doing this because it lives inside of me.”

G.G. Allin went on a few talk shows, but nothing beats the time an entire hour of Jerry Springer was devoted to grilling the punk star about rape, bestiality, and violence in his performances. What also makes this appearance great is that this was the first time he met his last and final girlfriend, Liz Mankowski (the 17-year-old girl who was infamously photographed with him right before he died). Mankowski defends Allin’s performances, saying that she believes in what he says and that people who go to his shows know what they are getting into. While the audience freaks out as the word “rape” is thrown around, Mankowski remains calm and poised. Of course, the audience doesn’t understand that Allin’s threat of “rape” is laughable, because they have never seen Allin naked. G.G. Allin had a penis the size of a pinky finger—it was practically inverted—and the idea of him trying to violently rape anyone with that tool was comical at best. Allin knew what he was doing. His shock factor was calculated and meticulous. He was a brilliant monster. That’s why we still talk about him.


Besides the fact that all these bands came together in the audience of The Phil Donahue Show to talk about the hardcore scene in NYC, the best part of this video is the elder woman in the pink sweater who says that she has “learned a lot” from these “very insightful” punk kids. While Donahue shoves stereotypical sentiments about hating the system or their parents in the punk’s mouths this lady represents a hopeful open-mindedness of the elder generation. The New York Post article got a lot of heat from the scene—so much so, that not just Donahue, but Regis & Kathy took on the punks too. Regis and Kathy’s linguistic approach to getting down with the punks is pretty priceless. Check out that video here.



I grew up watching Jenny Jones. I loved it. My favorite episodes were the ones that involved wild teens who had to be sent to boot camp. Jenny Jones had that signature boot camp leader guy who would storm out at the end of the show and berate the terrified teenagers while they tried to stand-up and act tough to him. On one particular episode, Jenny Jones just gets behind a drum kit and starts hammering away while a kid is being yelled at. Apparently, Jenny was in an all-girl band when she was a wild teen herself. Who knew?


It’s so sad that stuff like this doesn’t exist anymore. Maybe it’s because punk has been integrated so deeply into fashion and contemporary culture that having a son who sings explicit lyrics in a band is no longer shocking. However, back when that was a big thing, Geraldo did a talk show devoted to "Heavy Metal Moms. The drummer from Jethro Tull was on there as well as one dude from Danger Danger, but the real star of the episode was, of course, Joey Ramone and his adorable mother Charlotte Lesher. Joey’s mom is a total ham! She sings along to all the songs and talks about how much she loves her son’s band. Geraldo keeps trying to encourage the idea that Joey being a musician was “going astray,” but Lesher is nothing but proud of her son. It’s freaking adorable.