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The craziest Web-revived public access television shows you’re not watching

Lets Paint TV
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Admit it: The Netflix account you use is some password your best friend got from her ex-boyfriend as parting gift when that relationship ended. No one likes paying for services when they can get equally good things for free, so just in case said ex-boyfriend you’re mooching off changes his password, it’s time to delve into the underworld of public access television. It’s a surprise the Internet hasn’t killed off this medium in the past decade, and now they many of these shows are finding second lives on sites like YouTube, Blip, and Vimeo, here are the top five public access shows you simply must witness. When you do, you’ll realize that you cannot pay for this stuff anywhere.

The Chris Gethard Show

Billed by the New York Times as “an often riveting experiment in seat-of-your-pants broadcasting,” The Chris Gethard Show airs every Wednesday night at 11 p.m. on New York-based channel Manhattan Neighborhood Network and on the show’s official website. Each episode revolves around a single topic clumsily announced by the show host, and the hour-long show includes everything from experiments, stunts, video sketches, musical acts, and crazy dares. In one of the latest episodes, guests spend a whole hour playing an epic game of Twister in front of a live audience. Did we mention some of them are dressed in banana outfits? Twister is already pretty hilarious in person, but watching grown men stick their faces behind each other’s butts to win a silly children’s game is surprisingly quality entertainment.

Dance Oly Dance

The concept of white people dancing may be terrifying to some, but in a dated video quality, Dance Oly Dance manages to achieve a nostalgic effect that’s both fun and hypnotizing. The idea is simple: Dance Oly Dance is just a live television show featuring people who love to shake it, and most like to show up in silly costumes while moving in little circles. The original show was based in Olympia, Washington, airing on Thurston County Television before some of its musicians moved to Illinois. Now, we relive the LSD-inspired party days on ol’ YouTube archives. The show’s a hot mess, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Animal Trash

Don’t be fooled, just because there are puppets on Animal Trash, this is far from a children’s show. The puppets are often finding themselves in controversial situations, like how to deal with a buddy’s suddenly disfigured face or hiding behind a post-murder guilt. Yeah, serious stuff, all in good adult humor’s fun.

The BJ Rubin Show

Do you like live musical performances? Do you like trippy shit? Have you ever wanted to know what being on acid felt like but were too scared to try? Hit three birds with one stone on The BJ Rubin Show, New York’s finest Internet gem. We have no idea what the premise is or why Brooklyn-based B.J. Rubin decided to induce premature epilepsy on his viewers, but there are always songs and bright graphics to go with every performance. Just peep one of the latest episodes that aired on MNN last month. We’re warning you, not friendly for those prone to seizures.

Let’s Paint TV

John Kilduff is the 21st century Bob Ross… if Bob Ross took steroids and owned a crappy camera, lived in a basement, and collected green curtains. Kilduff is the multitasking master with Let’s Paint TV in which he attempts to juggle doing multiple things at the same time on his short TV show. In most cases, he’s found running on a treadmill while painting, in addition on one other oddball task. Like, say, carve a Jack-O-Lantern? Cut his own hair? Cook “in the woods”? How about glue-gunning a cardboard house? Witness below for something we must all aspire to.

Let’s Paint TV originally aired in Los Angeles cable access television before studios were shut down in 2008. Now, Kilduff lives on the Web. We should mention that while he’s not publicly exercising, he really likes painting burgers, all kinds of it – cheeseburgers, tongue burgers, zombie burgers, and more NSFW varieties.

Natt Garun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
An avid gadgets and Internet culture enthusiast, Natt Garun spends her days bringing you the funniest, coolest, and strangest…
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