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EW's Extreme Hall Fame

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Things weren’t always extreme. In the beginning there was Hep. Hep begat Hip. Hip begat Cool, which begat Far Out, which begat Cool again…and so on down the dizzying timeline of pop culture. But the one-step-beyond concept has always been with us, even though we keep changing the name that describes it. From the abrasive monologues of Lenny Bruce to the ultraviolence of A Clockwork Orange, extreme entertainment has a long, proud envelope-pushing history. Here’s just a portion of the people and things who’ve secured a place in the Extreme Hall of Fame.

1960s
The Twilight Zone Extreme creepy brain candy
Psycho Anthony Perkins, extreme Oedipus complex; Janet Leigh, extreme showering
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? Extreme over-the-hill diva camp
Lenny Bruce Extreme obscenity-spewing cool-cat comedian
Easy Rider Extreme reefer madness, dig?
Woodstock Extreme lovefest
Altamont Extreme buzz-kill

1970s
Jim Morrison Extreme bathing
A Clockwork Orange Extreme Gene Kelly ”Singin’ in the Rain” homage
David Bowie Extreme gender-bending glam-queen…er, king
Last Tango in Paris Extreme Land O Lakes
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Extreme cult scam to get wannabe actors to fork over $8 every Saturday night
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Extreme power tools
Saturday Night Live Extreme comedy with no net
Elvis Extreme barbiturate-fueled baroque Vegas swagger
Evel Knievel Extreme red, white, and blue daredevil with a motor-cycle and a death wish
KISS Extreme kabuki-painted, platform-shoed, blood-spitting monsters of rock
The Sex Pistols Extreme safety-pin-wearing, bile-spewing punk spectacle
Richard Pryor Extreme obscenity-spewing cool-cat comedian, part deux
Andy Kaufman Extreme bug-eyed female wrestler

1980s
Airplane! Extreme pants-wetting subversion…and stop calling me Shirley
Jack Nicholson Extreme marital spat (see The Shining)
Raging Bull Extreme nosebleed
Polyester Extreme scratch ‘n’ sniff John Waters gross-out
Grace Jones Extreme chiseled he-woman chanteuse
Cyndi Lauper Extreme fashion victim
David Lee Roth Extreme spandex poster boy
This Is Spinal Tap Extreme Meathead mockumentary
Ozzy Osbourne Extreme animal lover…especially bats, yum
Pee-wee’s Playhouse Extreme proof that kids’ TV is for grown-ups
David Lynch Extreme small town, apple- pie, dysfunction peddler
The Beastie Boys Extreme beer-guzzling, blunt-smoking, nasal frat-boy rhymers
N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton Extreme gangstas
Howard Stern Extreme lesbian-wannabe and FCC violator

1990s
Oliver Stone Extreme paranoid crusader against ”The Man”

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