Saturday, August 18, 2012

From Hollywood, almost live, it's the Gong Show!

I miss the Gong Show. I miss Chuck Barris hosting the Gong Show.

Gene Gene the Dancing Machine? How do we manage to go on without Gene Gene the Dancing Machine?

I loved the way Barris scratched his head and stumbled around the set like a koala bear gloriously drunk on eucalyptus leaves. I loved the Unknown Comic and Phylis Dillar and Jamie not-in-his-dress-Klinger Farr and Joan Rivers and ... and ... and ....

... and Chuck Barris's jackets and hats and the sexy Scandinavian chick that introduced him ... 

... and Jay P. Morgan and her thinly veiled references to felatio and that glitzy beaded head-thing she wore.

Wait! I know! I know! There is nothing I loved more than when some complete dog of an act would get gonged and Chuck Barris would come out all apologetic and full of beautiful human compassion and pat the gonged out loser on the shoulder and say, "I don't know why they did that. I loved your act," like he really meant it.

Man, I miss the Gong Show, but have faith dear reader. I realize I am no Chuck Barris, but you can count on this:

We'll be back with more shhhhhtuff!

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Anonymous said...

That popsicle act demonstrates true talent, all right, but not suitable for family hour ; )

B.E. Earl said...

I was, not so oddly, reading about The Gong Show and Chuck Barris recently. He developed the show, but wasn't supposed to host it. They guy that they initially hired didn't understand that it was a parody. So Chuck stepped in and glorious history was made.

Kirk said...

I suspect most of the acts that were gonged on THE GONG SHOW were professionals, and most of those that didn't get gonged were amatuers. Basically, to avoid getting gonged, you didn't have to be particularly good, just sincere. So sincere that you didn't even realize you were on a parody in the first place.

Though a parody, for legal reasons it had to be a real contest. If you watch the earliest episodes (as I did when they reran on the Game Show Network) you'll see the celebrity judges aren't always sure it's a parody, occasionally gonging the "straight" acts, and letting the intentionally bad ones go by. Chuck Barris himself had to give a little apologetic speech (no doubt forced on him by the network) explaining to the audience that's it all in fun. As time goes by, the celebrity judges catch on and only gong the intentionally bad acts (no matter how original, clever, or funny), while letting the unintenionally mediocre ones get by. Barris would even comment on this, such as when he introduced Jamie Farr (who caught on early that it was all a put-on) as "the man who actually GETS the show!" Barris also drops the apologetic speech, saying instead, "They may get gonged, but they don't care, because they're on TV!"

Big comment I left here, but I was a big fan of the show. Thank you for this.

Bill the Wrenchbender said...

Chuck Barris - CIA assassin!!

eviljwinter said...

That is why this current decade lags behind the 70's. There is no Gong Show, only Tosh.0 and Jerry Springer.

(And Springer is a cruel joke on the audience.)

Erin O'Brien said...

I don't care what anyone says, all those judges on American Idol, America's Got Talent, etc. are Gong Show wannabes.

Take that J-Lo, Howard Stern and Christine Aguilera.