Mike Myers – or at least Mike Myers in disguise – is set to host the reboot of the ’70s TV game show The Gong Show. Created by Chuck Barris – who passed away in March at age 87 –The Gong Show became a bizarre TV staple from 1976 to 1980. On the show, people with wide-ranging talents (who weren’t very talented) would perform their acts for Barris and guest panelists, including the likes of Arte Johnson, Adrienne Barbeau, Richard Dawson and Jaye P. Morgan. When a contestant’s performance became too unbearable to watch or listen to, they were sent packing after a panelist would take a mallet to bang the gong.
Myers appears to be the heir-apparent to the gig Barris created – or is he? No one will confirm Myers’ involvement in the upcoming ABC reboot of the TV show, except to say instead that it will be hosted by a 72-year-old veteran British show host named “Tommy Maitland.” In addition to hosting numerous other game series, it’s being reported that Maitland’s “experience” includes “a teenage stint in the British Army, a cult following in Italy thanks to a collection of spaghetti westerns and a few James Bond knock-offs” (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Further establishing Maitland’s background, The Gong Show reboot producer Will Arnett tells THR that he’s been a huge fan of Maitland since he “first saw his stand-up in the U.K. while traveling as a teenager,” and that crossed paths with him again years ago. Arnett adds:
“I tried for years to come up with a vehicle that was suitable to expose his immense talent on a bigger stage, and The Gong Show is the perfect fit.”
Like the original Gong Show, the reboot, set for a June 22 premiere, will have a slate of guest panelists, including Zach Galifianakis, Alison Brie, Andy Samberg, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Will Forte, Jack Black and Anthony Anderson. Perhaps the most exciting addition to the show is guest panelist Dana Carvey, whose presence will be the closest thing to a Wayne’s World reunion of Carvey and Myers that fans will get.
THR also talked on the phone with Maitland, who explained why he’s finally doing a show in the U.S. He says:
“Well, I did have some money problems back in England. Some terrible investments, I overspent and taxation during the ’70s was a killer. And they waved a tremendous amount of cash under my nose, which for me, at this time in my life, is welcome indeed. I will retire to Malta. Do you know how to make a Maltese cross?”
While nobody likely will get Myers to admit he’s Maitland, fans will be happy to know that Myers is more than comfortable living in other people’s skin. In the Austin Powers movie trilogy, of course, he played Austin, Dr. Evil, Goldmember and wore heavy prosthetics as Fat Bastard – so becoming Maitland should be like second nature to the comedian. Who knows? If The Gong Show reboot experiences a high level of success, maybe it will create enough momentum to get Austin Powers 4 made, which Myers definitely wants to happen.