5 Performers Who Succeeded with Dubious Talents

I’m back at Cracked! This week’s article is about people who either lacked talent but succeeded BECAUSE of it, (not despite, which would describe most of the Billboard 100 who are just ciphers for the music industry execs to make the records they want to make) although in editing the title got changed to 5 Star Performers Who Never Let a Lack of Talent Stop Them. If you want to kvetch about Tiny Tim, for example, I would reply to you that the distinction is lost in the title change, and that was not my choice. But I understand its reasons. A snappier headline always cuts to the quick of the internet.

I wrote this article fairly quickly, then suffered through a month of trying to think up a fifth person before it hit me. Aborted earlier passes are below. I thought of doing silent film star Clara Bow, who suffered through talkies, but that’s not really fair, since she got deservedly famous and then blindsided by changing technology. Besides, rumors of her Brooklyn accent being problematic are mostly exaggerated.

Screw you, history. Clara Bow was an ass-kicker.


GG Allin

For many of you, GG Allin is a familiar name that embodies the true essence of punk. But for the sane among you, he was a guy who used to slash his flesh and rub his own feces into it. And holy quivering E chords was his life screwed up.

For starters, his birthname was Jesus Christ Allin, because his dad was convinced the original article had told him to name his son after J.C. the First.

I quit this one for a lot of reasons — I didn’t want it to be all musicians, GG Allin’s music isn’t amazing, but it’s half-decent punk for its day. And sure, he was more performance artist trying to elicit a reaction, but…I dunno, it didn’t feel right.


Canada has given us so many wonderful rappers Drake. If you’d asked the average radio listener to name one Canadian rapper prior to his rise, you would hear the name Snow, and nobody really knows what Snow is. He’s more of a reggae toaster with frosted tips.

Chuggo is not a success. He is about to get out of prison and his biggest claim to fame is when the entire internet gathered round to laugh at “C’mon, Fuckin’ Guy.” There are many people famous for making terrible music, but only Chuggo managed to join their ranks while looking like a level boss from a Turbo-Grafx 16 game.

Again: musicians, and I wasn’t sure what separated a Chuggo from a William Hung or even 3/4 of the Black-Eyed Peas. They’re just people who got lucky/unlucky in an era that made it possible to spread their name. Florence Foster-Jenkins was a real achievement, because it took work to get famous for being terrible back then. And anyway, I couldn’t find a fluid way to credit K-OS and Saukrates, Canadian rap’s greatest treasure,  and keep the snappy patter.