But you don't have to tell that to the man who put the "D" in D-list celebrity, Dustin Diamond. Better known as the spastic Samuel "Screech" Powers from late '80s teen sitcom Saved by the Bell, Diamond emerged from a 13-year incubation with an odd Internet scheme crafted to save his Wisconsin home from foreclosure. The "Save My House" campaign earned Diamond tens of thousands of dollars in small web donations from pitying fans. A planned five-hour Screech telethon at the Denver-based studios of Mania TV, however, proved much less successful. As detailed here, producers at the online network cancelled the August 2006 appearance just hours before air time when questions arose about Diamond's financials and the 29-year-old "acted like a complete jerk."
Jerk-off is more like it; not long after, a sex-video featuring Diamond and two young women cavorting in a motel room began circulating on the Internet. Diamond — who is reported by viewers to be, blughh, quite well-endowed — maintains that he never intended the taped session to go public. But that didn't stop him from quickly inking a deal with adult film company Red Light District (beware of pop-ups on this link) to distribute the video under the title "Screeched!"
The original title, "Saved By the Smell," was scrapped for obvious reasons. It can be purchased from this website for $29.95 while supplies last — which should be approximately forever.
Red Light District also happens to be a client of Mike Wheeler's marketing outfit Cross Promotions, which produces low-grade television ads for Denver businesses. On evenings when making live appearances at local bars and strip clubs as the Pleasures Dude character "Rusty Boner," Wheeler often gives out multiple copies of Diamond's video to bewildered onlookers. But that's not where the connections end.
Last week, the ABC News show 20/20 featured a story called "Cyberbegging," in which Diamond defends his for-profit sexcapades with surprising good humor. He also describes his present money troubles with a page torn straight out of the former-child-actor script: his parents spent all his earnings.
"A lot of the money that I made was gone," he laments.
Diamond's sentiments are a near replica to the ones expressed by Wheeler, who starred in numerous commercials as a child, including one as a singing Oscar Mayer Weiner kid, and blamed his current shtick, at least partly, on trauma suffered during a childhood on the set.
So can it be a mere coincidence that seven minutes into the 20/20 broadcast, Fred Gates, one of the Pleasure Dudes, appears briefly on the floor of the Adult Video News convention waving a copy of "Screeched!"?
Let's just conclude that being a bottom-feeder is hard work, and leave it at that. —Jared Jacang Maher