Tommy (Grand) Habeeb: Tinsel and Rot Hall of Famer

The mission of the Tinsel and Rot Hall of Fame is twofold. First, we aim to honor those who have achieved genuine greatness in not only our arguably warped eyes but in the eyes of the general populace. In that capacity, we have welcomed undeniable legends like Hank Williams Sr., Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison into the fold. Second, we look to shine a light on those who have achieved greatness in our eyes but whose names are greeted with a casual shrug or, at best, a tepid tolerance from the average citizen. We have achieved this goal with the induction of William Hickey, Gary Busey, and now the original and still greatest "Cheaters" host of all time, Mr. Tommy Habeeb, or Tommy Grand if you prefer to call him by his host name.

If you have not had the pleasure of watching "Cheaters," you are living a vastly unfulfilled life, and Tinsel and Rot is very sorry for you. But to catch you up, the show's premise is that someone suspects a loved one of infidelity, the "Cheaters" team of private investigators trails the suspected cheater and amasses video evidence, the host shows the aggrieved party this proof, and then there's a big confrontation, generally in a parking lot and almost always hilarious. Never has infidelity been so incredibly entertaining. And the most fascinating part of the show is that, most of the time, the person who is doing the cheating and ends up being the subject of verbal and occasional light physical abuse from their scorned lover apparently happily signs a consent form that allows his or her completely unblurred likeness to be shown in perpetuity. Fascinating. Yes, "Cheaters" may be the best worst show of all time.

Anyway, Tommy Habeeb, who for reasons I've never been clear on goes by the name of "Tommy Grand" for "Cheaters" purposes, is the true star of the show. As entertaining and explosive as the confrontations are, it is the perpetually black-clad Habeeb's casual reassurances to the person being cheated on that propel the show and earn him a spot in the Tinsel and Rot Hall of Fame. While sharing graphic evidence of infidelity, Habeeb would often add in a "I hate to have to show you this" or "This must be difficult to watch" as he offered an awkward pat on the shoulder meant to soothe someone who's just seen her boyfriend getting blown in a dorm room. And it would all be delivered in a flat monotone, which made it all the more fantastic. Never has unctuousness been so brilliantly displayed. And, yes, I am excited that I just used the word "unctuousness."

Unfortunately, Habeeb was replaced by the vastly inferior Joey Greco as host, and "Cheaters" never was the same. The show got progressively more bizarre (Greco was stabbed, the "Cheaters" cameras uncovered an odd S&M session, one of the cameraman got zapped by some sort of cattle prod), but it didn't have the Tommy Grand touch. I'm not sure if there are still first-run episodes airing, but G4 airs repeats a lot, and a lot of those repeats fetaure highlights from the Tommy Grand years that show the vast superiority of those episodes.

Sadly, YouTube's "Cheaters" clips are almost all from the Joey Greco years, so there is precious little I can show you to illustrate the brilliance that was Tommy Grand. But in my research, I discovered that Habeeb recently hosted a show called "Stag," where brides-to-be got to watch clips from their future husbands' bachelor parties. What could go wrong? Oh right, this (WARNING: contains language definitely not suitable for work):

Tinsel and Rot salutes you, Tommy (Grand) Habeeb, and welcomes you into the Tinsel and Rot Hall of Fame.

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