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John and Ken’s Racist Radio and Whitney Houston

Ken and John parrot the pathos and politics of Rush Limbaugh and deliver it with all the nuance of two badgers on acid



I couldn't have been more jubilant at hearing that a local Los Angeles afternoon drive radio talk show duo had been suspended for their comments after the death of Whitney Houston. Oh joy. Finally someone was taking action against the misanthropic and racist monologue of John Kobylt and Ken Champioux, two freaks who are as hard to digest as their last names are hard to pronounce.

I remember when these guys first hit the airwaves at the big AM gun here in L.A. I'd mention the station, but why give these clowns anymore juice? It was obvious that they had done their Howard Stern homework, as at least the John of the duo was doing a painfully uninspiring Stern imitation.

They had all the rancor and reflexive hostility of Stern, but without Stern's timing and talent. The raucous John Kobylt was tempered by the innocuously sedate Ken Champioux. John's Howard to Ken's Robin created a flat-footed pas de deux that tugged at the heartstrings of every closeted racist and fascist-in-training — no matter where in the Southland that they lived.

Their act was anything but original. They parroted the pathos and politics of Rush Limbaugh and delivered it with all the nuance of two badgers on acid.

Of course, this being Los Angeles, they became an immediate hit. As those who are the fastest to inflame, they are also the slowest to tune them out. Bigotry in their hands edged out sarcasm as the lowest form of comedy. If wit was s–t, the constipation that occurs when these guys are on air obstructs any real news. They are entertainers, and as entertainers they suck at anything but fornicating the truth.

Witness the birth of hate radio.

Hate radio has never been more rabid, and these guys do it well. The years have amped up the pitch of their voices. They used to shill copper piping and Pajama-Grams, now they chicane for those brave neocons and Tea Baggers who are against compassionate immigration policies, migrant workers, and school lunch plans.

They take their playbook from hate mongers and kneel in the shadow of guys like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and David Duke. They latch onto someone they disagree with and don't let go until they've ruined their career, no matter how salient the opposite point might be. Great stuff if you're a serial killer, border patrol agent, or radio ad salesperson.

However, they overstepped the boundaries the other day. In light of Houston's death, they gleefully began dancing around their campfire of racism and hate and started hurling epithets that could not have been overlooked even by the program directors and ad sales guys who profit from their butchery.

Having not learned the lesson that Don Imus taught the industry when he referred to the Rutgers University's Female Basketball Team as a bunch of "nappy headed ho's," John and Ken went a step further, or stepped in it deeper, by dragging the still warm corpse of Houston behind their 50,000-watt pick-up truck. You can Google it if you want to know verbatim what they said. It wasn't clever, it wasn't funny — it was stupid.

Whitney Houston's death is nothing short of a tragic knife in the back to anyone who depended on her or believed in her. The lesson is that drugs kill, and as scatalogical as John and Ken like to get when picking over the corpse of a dead celebrity, one has to be mindful that there is still a child who collapsed out of grief several times during the aftermath of her mother's death.

The lessons and jokes can come later, and they will to more cerebral comics. John and Ken are neither cerebral or comical. They sell hate, and hate waits for no child to heal, or body to be laid to rest.

This is their schtick, and it makes me thankful for satellite radio, my old Hendrix CDs, or picking nose hair. They hate Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. They hate Latinos, they demonize people who need social services, they crap on unions, they mock teachers, they broadcast private cell phone numbers of immigrant rights activists, and orgasm whenever a celebrity in their 'death pool' meets the final curtain. Boring.

Like their hero Howard Stern, they should be aware that karma, when revisited, is indeed a bitch. The bad karma that Stern is experiencing is best left for another blog, but anyone who is a fan of shock-jockery in the voice of the master will tell you that life came back at him rather harshly of late. One shouldn't base their act on the debasement of women when they are bringing up three daughters.

I hope, nay — I pray that one of their kids marries a Mexican. How poetic. Good for the kid, because Mexicans are as a rule fantastic people — but the shock that the parents will undergo would make for some great radio.


Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's best blog award and a Southern California Journalism Award for his HollyBlogs, as well as an award for the Facebook group that helped to muscle the salvation of long-term care for the motion picture and television industry, Stellar's "vituperative blog on TheWrap" (Vanity Fair) focuses on issues related to the motion picture and entertainment industry. Stellar is founder of The Man/Kind Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to fight religious and cultural intolerance through the arts while building bridges of tolerance for all people. Stellar lives in Woodland Hills, California, with his wife of over 30 years, Nuala, and much too much Beatles memorabilia.

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