1William Hung: the Chinese American Idol
William Hung is a Chinese American college student and American entertainer who gained fame and notoriety in early 2004 as a result of his poorly received audition performance of Ricky Martin’s hit song “She Bangs” on the third season of the television series American Idol.
“Um, I really like music. It is very good. I want to make music my living.” This was Hung’s statement before he started singing Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs!”. As judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul tried to hold back their laughter, judge Simon Cowell dismissed Hung’s performance outright: “You can’t sing, you can’t dance, so what do you want me to say?” Hung defended himself, stating, “Um, I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all.” Jackson and Abdul applauded his positive response, and Abdul said, “That’s the best attitude yet.” Hung’s response to Cowell’s criticism was in stark contrast to earlier contestants’ often angry, confrontational rejoinders. Hung also remarked, “And you know, I have no professional training of singing and dancing,” eliciting a response of mock surprise from Simon Cowell, saying, “No, well this is the surprise of the century.” Hung was not admitted to the next round.
Hung rapidly gained a cult following around the world. A William Hung fan site set up by Realtor Don Chin and his wife Laura, recorded over four million hits within its first week. Hung subsequently appeared as a guest on a number of television programs including On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Entertainment Tonight, The Late Show With David Letterman, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Howard Stern Radio Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dateline NBC, and CBS’s The Early Show. He was also featured in numerous magazines and newspapers nationwide and parodied on Saturday Night Live and Celebrity Deathmatch.
On March 8, Koch Entertainment announced that Hung had decided to sign a record deal. The album has sold 195,000 copies, and reached #3 on Amazon.com’s sales rankings.
Hung released a Christmas album, Hung for the Holidays, on October 19, 2004. Hung’s third album, Miracle: Happy Summer from William Hung, was released July 12, 2005 and became an instant failure. Its poor reception perhaps indicates that Hung’s fifteen minutes of fame had finally run out.
2Gary Brolsma: the Numa Numa Dancer
A Flash-based video of now twenty-year-old American Gary Brolsma lip-synching the song energetically on his webcam brought the Numa Numa phenomenon to the US (video). Brolsma has stated that he first discovered the song in the Japanese flash animation.
Brolsma first published his “Numa Numa Dance” on the Newgrounds site on December 6, 2004. Since then it has popped up on hundreds of other websites and blogs, and he has made appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Tonight Show and VH1’s Best Week Ever.
Brolsma is a resident of the state of New Jersey and is reportedly not happy with his fame, although he has created tweaked versions of the video since it became popular. According to The New York Times, Brolsma has become an “unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity.” Brolsma has stopped taking phone calls from the media; he canceled an appearance on NBC’s Today Show on February 17, 2005, and he did not cooperate with The New York Times for their February 26, 2005 article about him.
3Ghyslain Raza: the Star Wars kid
Ghyslain Raza (born 1988), from Canada, became known throughout the Internet in May 2003 as the “Star Wars Kid” when a video clip he recorded of himself was leaked online.
On November 4, 2002 Raza made a video of himself swinging a golf ball retriever around as if it were a weapon. Most believe he was imitating the Star Wars character Darth Maul with a lightsaber. The video was filmed at the studio of Séminaire St-Joseph high school. The tape was left forgotten in a basement for a few months. On or around April 19, 2003, the original owner of the videotape discovered Raza’s recorded acts and immediately shared it with some friends. Thinking that it would be a funny prank, they encoded it to a WMV file and shared it using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network, calling the videofile Jackass_starwars_funny.wmv.
Within two weeks, the file was downloaded several times. An adapted version of the video was created, adding Star Wars music, texts, and lightsaber lights and sounds to Raza’s golf ball retriever. According to Waxy.org, this was done by Bryan Dube, an employee from Raven Software. Several gaming, technology and Star Wars-related sites began to host the video, which caused the video to be downloaded more and more. Soon, people all over the world picked up the original and began making conversions of it, adding music, visual effects, and sounds, combining it with other well-known videos or scenes from films, for comic effect.
Raza reportedly suffered considerable embarrassment, in part because the video showed him to be overweight, and not particularly graceful. The case raised privacy issues and was extensively reported in mainstream news media worldwide, including the New York Times, CBS News and BBC News. The boy had to undergo therapy and counseling that began on October 12 and is currently still suffering chronic depression.
4Mahir Cagri: “I KISS YOU!!!!!!”
Mahir Cagri, a resident of Turkey, became an Internet celebrity in 1999. His picture-laden personal homepage, which exclaimed in broken English his love of the accordion and travel, was visited by millions and spawned numerous fansites and parodies.
Mahir claimed in various interviews that his personal webpage was hacked, with additions such as “I like sex” embedded into his webpage. His website was quickly spread through word of mouth on the internet. The website came at a time when “Internet phenomenon” was a new concept for Internet users, media, and the curious public.
Some quotes from his site:
5Péter Guzli: Tourist guy
The tourist guy, is an Internet phenomenon consisting of a photograph of a tourist (Péter Guzli) that has appeared in many Photoshopped pictures after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The first one who claimed to be the tourist was the Brazilian businessman José Roberto Penteado. When Penteado started to get media attention, including an offer to be in a Volkswagen commercial, a 25 year old Hungarian man named Péter Guzli came forward as the real tourist. Guzli says, however, that he does not want publicity and did not originally release his last name.
Guzli took the photo on November 28, 1997, and was also responsible for the initial edit. He edited the image for a few friends, not realizing it would spread so quickly across the Internet. He first provided the original undoctored photo and several other photos from the same series as proof to a Hungarian newspaper. Later on, Wired News examined the evidence and confirmed that Guzli was the real tourist guy.
6Florence Foster Jenkins: The Glory (????) of Human Voice
Florence Foster Jenkins (1868) was an American soprano who became famous for her complete lack of singing ability. she became tremendously popular in her unconventional way: her audiences apparently loved her for the amusement she provided rather than her musical ability. Jenkins was firmly convinced of her greatness, comparing herself favourably to the renowned sopranos Frieda Hempel and Luisa Tetrazzini, and dismissed the laughter which often came from the audience during her performances as coming from her rivals consumed by “professional jealousy”.
Jenkins restricted her rare performances to a few favorite venues, and her annual recital at the Ritz-Carlton ballroom in New York City. Attendance of her recitals was always limited to her loyal clubwomen and a select few others – she handled distribution of the coveted tickets herself. At the age of 76, Jenkins finally yielded to public demand and performed at Carnegie Hall on October 25, 1944. So anticipated was the performance that tickets for the event sold out weeks in advance. Jenkins died a month later.
7Dick Assman: a famous name
Dick Assman is a Saskatchewan gas station owner whose name propelled him to international celebrity status in 1995. Assman, who worked at Petro-Canada’s Victoria Square Mall station in Regina, was discovered by David Letterman, who was amused by his name. Assman was lavishly introduced on July 24, 1995, on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he was a nightly feature for about a month. Live field units in Canada interviewed him for the show. Over the weeks, Assman received a musical tribute from Tony Orlando, while Joe Namath declared himself an “Ass-maniac”.
Vancouver polling company Angus Reid reported that 49 percent of surveyed Canadians in September 1995 had heard of his name. Assman received a number of contracts for commercial appearances, was asked to run for public office, and received many marriage proposals. Assmania came to a close in August when Assman visited the Ed Sullivan Theater and was presented with a bouquet of roses by Letterman.
8Noel Godin: the cream pie flinger
Noel Godin (1945) is a Belgian writer, critic, actor and notorious cream pie flinger or ‘entarteur’. Godin gained global attention in 1998 when his group ambushed Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in Brussels, pelting the software magnate with pies. Godin claims his goal has long been to ‘entarte’ as many people like Gates as possible – people he feels are particularly self-important and lacking a sense of humor.
Godin, who uses the pseudonym ‘Georges Le Gloupier’ has also inspired an unknown number of followers around the world, who now regularly provide him with details about the whereabouts of various important potential targets. It took 32 people to conduct the Bill Gates operation. His followers take care to look as ridiculous as possible as they throw their tarts, smiling broadly, spouting anti-pretentious poetry and repeating “gloup, gloup, gloup.”
9Pope Michael I: the elected Pope from Kansas
David Allen Bawden (born 1959), is an American citizen who was elected “Pope Michael I” by a group of six Conclavist or post-Sedevacantist Catholics, arguing that the elections of the last 6 popes were invalid because they are all modernists.
Sedevacantists argue that if the College of Cardinals will not or cannot elect a valid pope, ordinary Catholics can do so, under the principle of “Epikeia” (Equity). Acting on the basis of this, David Bawden was elected Pope by six people on 1990 (including himself and his parents). He is still on the job to this day.
10Henry Earl: 936 alcohol-related offenses
Henry Earl (born 1949) is a homeless African-American man from Kentucky who is famous primarily because of his extensive police record, mostly for non-violent alcohol-related offenses.
Henry’s rise to fame was in large part due to the fact that the Fayette County Jail had a public web site which listed a person’s arrest record and mug shots. Henry Earl had an extensive record, and a wide range of emotions expressed in the mug shots, from despondent to happy. This page was linked to regularly by Internet news blogs – in particular, Fark.com and www.messedup.net. The web site eventually had to be shut down due to the strain that was placed upon it. Later, a Henry Earl website was made in tribute to him, by the admin of www.messedup.net, Heywood Jablomey. Henry has made numerous talk show appearances and has been featured in national and international media venues, including MSNBC, the UK Sunday Mail, and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
|Statistic Name||Statistic Value|
|Number of Lifetime Offenses||936|
|Number of Lifetime Days Spent in Jail||3634|
|2005 Year to date offenses:||44|
|2005 Days spent in jail||308|
|2006 Year to date offenses:||3|
|2006 Days spent in jail||82|
|Average Days per year spent in jail||259.57|
|Average duration of incarceration||3.89 days|
|Average duration of freedom||1.61 days|