As we reported this past week, 72-year-old veteran British television host Tommy Maitland will be the heir-apparent to the belated Chuck Barris on ABC’s The Gong Show reboot. In keeping with the offbeat comedic style of the hit late-70s game show, international man of mystery Maitland, isn’t an unknown comic. He’s none-other than a disguised Mike Myers, in a whole new British creation.
During last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, guest host Will Arnett “shamelessly plugged” the new Gong Show, which he’s executive producing, by introducing the world to the “legendary British comedy legend” Tommy Maitland. In the staged bit, a very heavily made-up Mike Myers “humbly” makes his way up to the stage, with Starbucks in hand and a tailored suit straight from Savile Row. “Come on man, I just got off a plane,” Maitland replies as he agrees to sit beside Arnett for a casual conversation. It only takes seconds to see Myers come through behind all the prosthetics. The smarmy, slightly condescending Maitland has traces of vintage Myers characters, including Austin Powers and Wayne Cambell.
The sketch/promotion also gives Myers a chance to exhibit Maitland’s patronizing nature, as he gloats over loving Americans. “You’re like a giant love popsicle and I want to eat you all the way to the stick,” says the over-tanned, gap-toothed host. Further delivering insults in disguise of praise, he points out his amazement that someone like Arnett could make it so big here. “No, but seriously? Doesn’t he look like a cross between George Hamilton and a Crest White Strip?” he asks the audience.
When The Gong Show aired from 1976 to 1980, a probably-definitely-stoned Chuck Barris hosted the series as “in on the joke,” presenting often untalented acts constantly in danger of being “gonged” off stage by guest celebrity judges. The show was powered on laughing gas, with repeat judges Arte Johnson, Adrienne Barbeau, Richard Dawson, Jamie Farr, Rip Taylor, and Phyllis Diller often as colorful and kooky as Barris and the contestants. In this new version, premiering on ABC June 22nd, Will Forte promises guest judges of today’s celebrity stature; Zach Galifianakis, Alison Brie, Andy Samberg, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Jack Black, and Anthony Anderson. Former SNL collaborator Dana Carvey will also appear, giving us the first repairing of the Wayne’s World stars since their 2015 reunion on SNL‘s 40th Anniversary special.
As previously reported, the backstory of new host Maitland’s “experience” includes prior television series, “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.” As in that interview, it certainly doesn’t appear Myers will ever be credited on screen as the alter-ego host of the new Gong Show, which calls to mind past prime-time characters created by SNL alumni – Tony Clifton (played by Andy Kaufman) and Jiminy Glick (portrayed by Martin Short).
Myers’s new creation should give the series reboot an interesting gimmick, but it remains to be seen how edgy it will be in comparison to the late ’70s edition that often came close to being controversial. The similarly rebooted Match Game comes from that same place of naughty double entendres and over-the-top responses. A slightly uptight, very British host may be what gives the new Gong Show a nice mean-spirited edge.
Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live!
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