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Back in the day a local independent TV Station in the New York City ran a original talk show called the Morton Downey Jr show. The program featured screaming matches among Downey, his guests, and audience members. Using a large silver bowl for an ashtray, he would chainsmoke during the show and blow smoke in his guests’ faces. Downey’s fans became known as “Loudmouths”, patterned after the studio lecterns decorated with gaping cartoon mouths, from which Downey’s guests would go head-to-head against each other on their respective Springer’s trailer-trash in heat show is classy compared to the regular Downy fare.

Thanks to Downy phrases such as “pablum puking liberal” and “zip it!” were written on t shirts all across America contemporary vernacular. Part of his shtick was fighting with the guests and enticing guests to fight with each other. 

An upcoming documentary about the late Morton Downey, Jr., the acerbic, chain-smoking talk show host, promises a meditation on the progenitor of trash TV, whose eponymous 1980s program was filmed in Secaucus, New Jersey and whose audience was filled with current and future probationers.

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For us, though, the highlight of the the trailer for “Évocateur” is the brief time capsule look at Al Sharpton, then a rotund Brooklyn reverend with a prodigious konk. As seen above, during a commercial break–but while cameras continued rolling–the civil rights leader is seen yelling at an audience member who likely had commented negatively on Sharpton’s weight, race, bow tie, or affiliation with Tawana Brawley. Perhaps all four.

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Saying that he was “tired of them acting big,” Sharpton told the unseen audience member, “You ain’t nothing! You a punk faggot!” Gesturing for the Downey fan to come up to the stage and rumble, Sharpton added, “Now come on and do something.” Since becoming a respected leader, Rev. Al has dropped the term “punk faggot” from his fiery verbal repertoire, records show.

So enjoy this short video of Al Sharpton, before he was complaining to the FCC about bigoted journalists, you know in the good old days when he was lying about Tawana Brawley and leading Pogroms against Jews in Crown Heights and  at Freddies Fashion Mart in Harlem.

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