Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Irreverent Fun Continues This Summer on ‘The Gong Show’

Second season of "The Gong Show"
Performer Jan Damm on The Gong Show. (ABC)

 TV 

One of the weirdest game shows to ever broadcast on the small screen was The Gong Show. It began as a NBC mid-day game show in 1976 that was hosted by the show’s creator, Chuck Barris. It was outrageous and at times controversial. Eventually the network cancelled the show altogether, but the show continued filming in syndication. Over the years, the show has been revived and canceled numerous times but last summer, ABC took a chance on nostalgia and decided the bring the show back from the dead with the help of Will Arnett who serves as the show’s executive producer.

The Gong Show is similar to NBC’s America’s Got Talent in that it is a talent show featuring unique acts from all over the country and sports a panel of celebrity judges, but the similarity ends there. While AGT consistently presents class acts (and a few duds here and there), The Gong Show is just the opposite with constant terrible acts and few surprisingly talented people mixed in for good measure. In fact, some acts featured on The Gong Show have also appeared on AGT ... and failed.

Second Season of "The Gong Show"
The Kinsey Sicks and The Chew Crew (ABC)
This year, the show moves from its 10:00 p.m. timeslot to the more family-friendly 8:00 p.m. (That’s not to say that all content on the show will indeed be family-friendly, but here’s hoping.) The host of the show is Tommy Maitland, a fictional British comic legend portrayed by Mike Myers.

While a revolving panel of judge’s praise, critique and gong contestants, most performers will go home with their unique talent that only a mother can love; but each week, the winning act with the highest judges’ score will receive The Gong Show trophy and a check. ABC says that this season promises to bring in even more big-name judges and a new gaggle of contestants unafraid to showcase their awesome yet quirky routines.

Returning to their post from last season include Arnett, Dana Carvey, Ken Jeong and Rob Riggle; and making their judging debut are Alyson Hannigan, Jimmy Kimmel, Brad Paisley, Sharon Osborne, Jason Sudeikis and others not yet announced.

Second season of "The Gong Show"
The Uniquecycles and Adam Winrich (ABC)
Performers, such as contortionists, singers, magicians, dancers, jugglers and dancing dogs, are just some of the dozens and dozens of acts that are set to impress our panel of three celebrity judges. If any of the judges deem an act to be less than worthy of a score, they can pick up a mallet and hit the giant gong that is hanging behind them and end the underwhelming performance. But if the judges are happy with the act, they will let it play out until the end and present their scores numerically from 0 through 10. It’s not uncommon for fights to break out amongst the judges when one of them wants to gong an act, while the others want to let them play on.

This year’s crop of performers include such acts as men-in-drag The Kinsey Sicks, The Uniquecycles (featuring a guy who can ride atop of unicycle that has five wheels), western whip-master Adam Winrich, “The World’s Strongest Redneck,” Cylax the Alien, the man-and-dog act Christian and Scooby, Bobella the archer/contortionist, The Chew Crew and The Colorado Speed Spinners to name a few.

The second season of The Gong Show premieres Thursday, June 21 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.

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