‘The Gong Show’ Premiere Recap: 1970’s Show Returns With Mike Myers As ‘Tommy Maitland’
One of the strangest game shows in TV history came back on the airwaves Thursday night. The Gong Show, a competitive game show in which contestants perform odd tricks and talents – if you can call them that – premiered on ABC last night and appeared to be just as weird as ever.
Like the original Gong Show, which ran from 1976-1989, three celebrity judges give each act a score of 0-10, unless, of course, they grow tired of the act – or, more likely, they get too weirded out by it – and hit a giant gong, ending the performance.
Last night’s premiere was judged by Ken Jeong, Zach Galifianakis and Will Arnett, who also serves as on of the show’s executive producer. Another star was part of the show, although he was never mentioned by name during the show or in the credits: the show’s host, Tommy Maitland, an aging British comedian, is actually Mike Myers.
The show started when Maitland exclaimed, “We’re just here for the funsies!”
First up, a man who called his act “Piano Sutra,” played the piano from several different positions, contorting his way all the way onto the floor at one point. Although he wasn’t gonged, he received mediocre scores from the judges.
The second act, which could be considered the strangest, if not the most creative, of the night was called “Mary Bleeds.” A woman, wearing a bonnet and a large blue dress came onto the stage singing, “Mary had a little bug, little bug, little bug.” She then introduced Midas, a tarantula, who Mary “loves very much.” Mary then proceeded to put the spider in her mouth and play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the harmonica. Repulsed, the judges all sprinted to the gong to end the performance, but before they reached it, Mary had finished.
Jeong, who is a licensed doctor as well as an actor, said of the performance, “As a physician and entertainer, it is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
The act that would go on to win the $2,000.17 prize, called themselves “Married with Bananas.” The couple, who have been married for 15 years, took turns spitting chunks of bananas into the other’s mouth. Getting the judges involved, only Arnett successfully completed a toss. The act grew increasingly more disgusting every second, until the end, when the couple was transferring an entire mushed up banana between their mouths.
Remarkably, the judges each awarded the act a score of ’10’ which was enough to secure them the victory.
One of the more “traditional” acts involved a man in an ape suit riding on a unicycle playing the bagpipes. During his routine, fire shot out of the bag pipes, he threw cigars at the judges, and slammed a cream-pie into his own face. “What a pay off,” Galifianakis yelled.
The show ended with the audience, the judges, and their wacky host singing along to a camp song with a guy named Albert – presumably, this is how every episode will end.
The Gong Show will return next Thursday at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. The guest judges for the second episode will be Fred Armisen, Elizabeth Banks and Will Forte.