The Ultimate Celebrity Meltdown

MetalFrog is a good kid and all, but even he makes mistakes.

He counted down his favorite celebrity meltdowns on his own blog, and we got to talking about how fitting it would be if he wrote about one of my favorites, the Seinfeld meltdown, while I was away. It was a great post, and it was super popular while I was away, and I love that, but now I have to burst his bubble.

You see, there’s one meltdown that really transcends all other celebrity meltdowns, and he missed it.

The Buddy Rich Tapes

I was introduced to The Buddy Rich Tapes while watching the special features on the Seinfeld DVD set (I bought mine at Best Buy, and it actually came inside of a replica refrigerator — fun fact). In one of the documentary bonus features, Jerry Seinfeld mentions that some of the quotes from shows actually came from these tapes. He further elaborates that he listens to these tapes prior to getting up on stage to perform standup and that he and Larry David used to quote the tapes while writing Seinfeld.

Buddy Rich was one of America’s greatest jazz drummers, and he knew it. It got to his head, and he was quite a diva about it. He used to berate his band up and down, and one day, someone decided to secretly record the tirades. They’ve been released to the public and, through the wonder of youtubes, we can hear them.

The tapes are basically an angry man totally reaming out his band for playing like crap; for all we know, they could have been playing just fine and he was a crazy perfectionist.

It is ten minutes of comedic masterpiece.

So, take a listen, and I’ll join you afterwards. (The tapes are noisy. They’re still amazing.)

If you’re a fan of the TV show, Seinfeld, you’ll recognize a bunch of quotes from the show that were inspired by the tapes. They’re pretty well summarized on Buddy Rich’s Wikipedia page. I think that’s a testament to the strength of this meltdown; it was significant enough to endure the test of time and make it into one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

Buddy Rich’s demeanor also made it into The Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage:”

I’m Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle


So, the significance of The Buddy Rich tapes cannot be refuted.

Like I said, the meltdowns Metalfrog wrote about were great, but they’re no Buddy Rich tapes.


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