BEST CHEESY PUBLICITY STUNT Phoenix 2007 - Sheriff Joe's "Inmate Idle"
Just when we thought ol' Joe Arpaio couldn't get any fruitier, the Maricopa County Sheriff came up with something that out-cheesed even the legendary pink underwear he forces inmates to wear in Tent City: an "Inmate Idle" competition in which non-violent offenders would sing bad karaoke in hopes of winning, uh, nothing. Media instantly went ga-ga for the gag. Maybe the puns were just too irresistible "What a con-test!" quipped TMZ.com. What a con, indeed! Here's how it worked: Sheriff Joke started by launching K-Joe radio in Tent City, which would broadcast "wholesome" music for inmates ("Rhinestone Cowboy," anyone?). Then, he launched the competition and aired preliminary rounds on the station, so other inmates could vote for their favorites. But Joe still needed judges, so he enlisted his publicist (natch), Lisa Allen, and Bret Kaiser, formerly of cheesy, bad '80s metal band Madame X. For the big finale, he got resident rock legend Alice Cooper to serve as the judge. It was all so gratuitously hyped that even our sister publication, LA Weekly, got lured into a masturbatory, seven-page cover story on the debacle. In case you're curious, an inmate named Corey Brothers won the final competition with a rendition of The Temptations' "My Girl." Joe gave him a vanilla cake. Really.