Reprinted from
Wall Street Journal

On TV Talk Shows,
Liblick's All the Rage
--Most of It, Anyway

A Studio-Audience Regular,
He Startles Guests, Pleases
Producers With Tirades

Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK – In the rogue's gallery of daytime television talk-show guests, Tim is only moderately detestable: He is appearing with his overweight wife on the "Ricki Lake Show" to ridicule her for not keeping slim.

But to audience member Bill Liblick, the man might as well be a narcoterrorist. When Ms. Lake thrusts the microphone in front of Mr. Liblick, He launches into a two-minute rant.

"You be quiet and listen to me!" he screams, eyes bulging, finger jabbing the air. "Why don't you sit in a little room and lick the wall, because that's what you're good for! And wear a long thin dunce cap! Because you're a little child!" The audience stamps its feet and whoops in approval.

In a vain attempt to fend off his assailant, the formerly cocksure young guest counter: "you're babbling Sit down. I saw you two weeks ago."

Bill Liblick:  The Wall Street JournalIndeed, Mr. Liblick has made for himself a curious vocation as a serially enraged audience member on daytime TV talk shows. Since quitting his job in mid-1992, the 36-year-old Bronx native has attended more than 200 tapings of "Jane Whitney," "Sally Jessy Raphael," "Geraldo," "Joan Rivers," "Montel Williams," "Ricki Lake," and others, often knocking off two or three a day. His trademark tirades have earned him celebrity among regular viewers and VIP treatment from producers.

To the uninitiated, his rages can be downright perplexing. After Mr. Liblick railed about Tonya Harding on the "Jane Whitney" show, a dumfounded audience member leaned across the aisle and asked, "Are you some kind of a plant?" Assured that he was not, the young man persisted: "Are you a journalist or something?"

"No, I'm just a typical New Yorker," retorted Mr. Liblick.

With his Bronx accent, medium build, and neat but pedestrian wardrobe, that isn't hard to believe. But even in a city known for full and frank exchanges of views, Mr. Liblick has long stood out. Before discovering his current media niche, Mr. Liblick spent nearly two decades venting his spleen to friends and co-workers, as a board member of various civic groups and in the bare-knuckle world of local politics.

"He's quintessential Bronx," says Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who has known Mr. Liblick for 15 years. He's beyond pushy. He's in-your-face." After Mr. Ferrer won his first borough presidency in 1987, Mr. Liblick attended his victory party. II was talking to someone, and I turned around and he was taking a swing at [U.S. Rep.] Eliot [Engel]." Mr. Liblick denies that fists flew, but admits that several judges had to step between him and the congressman.

Timothy Lempke, an advertising account executive, recalls accompanying Mr. Liblick to the official celebration of the Statue of Liberty centennial in 1986. "We were waiting in line to shake hands with Lee Iacocca. People were paying homage to him, when it was Bill's turn, he said: "The transmission just broke on my new Chrysler."

Mr. Liblick cheerfully admits he has a bug mouth and a weakness for poking his nose into other peoples' business. At the board meetings of the YMCA, the Bronx Council on the Arts, and the Special Olympics, which named him Humanitarian of the Year a few years ago, he usually keeps his bile in check. But on the talk-show sets he lets it blossom, achieving a weirdly perfect match. The talk shows give Mr. Liblick a broadcast forum for unmodulated, righteous rage. He gives the talk shows an unpaid performer, who rants in clean sound bites, seldom loses his ability to think clearly, and promises to turn the blandest program into something outrageous.

Honored Guest

"If we were doing a holiday show, and everything were happy. Bill would still stand up and yell at someone," marvels Burt Dubrow, a vice president at Multimedia Entertainment, which oversees the production of shows starring Ms. Raphael and Phil Donahue, and distributes Rush Limbaugh's shows. Ms. Raphael says that as studio guests go, "In my 37-year career Billy is probably the best."

The most successful daytime talk shows serve a steady diet of heroes and villains, preferably at the same time, doing battle. Mr. Liblick sees himself as a proxy for the people on the other side of the television, a deliver, in a hostile bellow, a message of tolerance and respect. Consider these diatribes he has dispensed on national television over the past 18 months:

*To a teenage baby sitter who slept with the husband of her employer: "A woman hired you to be a baby sitter, not a prostitute!"

*To three sisters and the man who married one of them twice, another one, and had an affair with the third: "How many people have you had affairs with? I think you all need help!"

*Pointing one by one to a number of black and white supremacists: "You are sick, pathetic animals! You are a racist! You are a bigot! You're a pig, you're a pig, and you're a pig! Burn yourselves in one big cross-burning!"

*To a man who got his wife's 16-year –old sister pregnant: "That pig that piece of trash up there, he should be sitting in some kind of mental institution!"

Jarring Losses

*To a man who got his wife's 16-year –old sister pregnant: "That pig that piece of trash up there, he should be sitting in some kind of mental institution!"

"I quit the only job I ever had, then my mother got sick and died four weeks later," says Mr. Liblick, who still lives in the apartment they shared for many years. "I was totally numb."

Walking through Rockefeller Center to consult his lawyer, he was handed a ticket to the now-defunct "Faith Daniels Show."

An hour later he was on his feet in front on a television camera, chewing out Thomas Robb, national director of the Ku Klux Klan.

"You should be ashamed of yourself!" he railed. "You're teeth are probably as false as you are. We should burn people like you! Shame on you!"

One round of applause and he was hooked.

Office Gossip

Mr. Liblick's friends aren't altogether surprised by his aptitude for settling the hash of complete strangers. At the Bronx newspapers, he was the office gossip and everybody's confidant. "He's like an old Jewish mother in a young male body," says Roxanne Donovan, a publicist who used to work there. "He was involved in everyone's life. He loves when people do good. But he can be real judgmental if he thinks you've done wrong."

Still, Mr. Liblick's friends are astonished that his audacity has landed him on national television so regularly. "This guy just walked in off the streets," says Bill Gordon , a former co-worker. "I've got a lot of friends in show business, and he's gotten more exposure than most entertainers get in a lifetime."

But now, Mr. Liblick wants more. He has been living on his savings, and he needs a job. These days, when a talk-show devotee congratulates him in the studio or on the street, he is inclined to blurt out: " Do you like what I say? Shouldn't I have my own show?"

He has made a demo tape, and hired an agent. "I could go mouth to mouth with Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh," he says. "It's time that someone did."

Just what would his niche be in the already crowded field? "I'm real," he says. "I come from the audience."

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