In 1926, cabaret conferencier Erich Lowinsky ( or Elow) had an idea.
He placed advertisements in Berlin newspapers reading:
” The experimental stage. We seek young talents, whom we will give the opportunity of performing before the metropolitan public every Monday Night. We request applications for this Kabarett der Namenlosen ” (Cabaret of the Nameless)
The first publication of this advertisement received 187 replies, and he accepted everyone. With only 15 acts per night this supplied a steady stream of ‘entertainment’ for his new venture.
Inevitably, the acts were dreadful. Some convinced that the night would give them their ‘big break’ and set them on the road to fame and fortune, others just deluded amateurs, some mentally ill or schizophrenic.
The performers were greeted with laughter and heckling from the audience and many left the stage distressed and in tears.
The critics were outraged, describing the venture as “sadism” and “typical Berlin bad taste’
” Here the public satisfies an instinct that is stimulated elsewhere by executions, insane asylums and bullfights. Since the combats of the Roman gladiators with slaves and Christians, nothing has changed”
The venture was thankfully unique and short-lived.
*Any comparison with contemporary Saturday Night Prime-Time television is purely coincidental