The Gong Show is making a comeback with Mike Myers said to be hosting the variety show, made up of unique acts and a panel of celeb judges (and, a gong, of course), reports Deadline.
You may be saying to yourself, “Sure, that’s Mike Myers, aka Austin Powers, on the left side of the screen in the above photo… but, who’s the other guy?”
Oh, well, that’s legendary British personality Tommy Maitland. Should you know him?
The answer is: yes and no. It turns out Myers is taking on the persona of Maitland — film actor, TV and gameshow host extraordinaire — who is coming out of retirement to take his place in the spotlight. Myers does his interviews in character, so, in suit, we shall refer to him as… the one and only Tommy Maitland. Maitland is on board, but we should point out, ABC has neither confirmed or denied that is indeed Myers under that funny facade.
Maitland speeds us up on his conversation with actor-turned-producer Will Arnett (Arrested Development) recruiting him to host The Gong Show, sharing his initial response to the offer, “I said, ‘I’m honored at the request, but I’m retired.'”
But, soon Maitland warmed up to the idea, explaining the shift in mood, “Then he told me how much I was being paid, in U.S. dollars, and I said, ‘I’m still honored, but no longer retired.'”
While Maitland is new to us, the testimonials are rolling in from industry insiders, according to ComingSoon.net. Robert Mills, SVP, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming, ABC Entertainment, talked about following the comedian’s career, saying, “I have been a fan of Tommy Maitland for years, and I think he is one of the most iconic British comics out there, along the lines of Benny Hill and Ricky Gervais.”
The folks at Sony chimed in, too, with Holly Jacobs, EVP, Reality and Syndication Programming for Sony Pictures Television, saying, “When Will Arnett brought Tommy Maitland to Sony, we immediately understood why he felt Tommy would be the perfect host for our beloved Gong Show.”
Apparently, Arnett fell under his spell as a teenager, while traveling in Europe. He outlines his introduction to the living legend, saying, “He was so funny and original. I had the good fortune to cross paths with Tommy a few years ago and ever since we’ve talked about working together,”
Maitland does not have an IMDB page, but some of his accomplishments include, making 11 films (he’s very popular in Italy for his Spaghetti Westerns), he worked the stand-up scene across Europe early in his career, starred in a Canadian TV series and hosted a British gameshow. He’s covered all sorts of territory before retiring at 55. And, as we know from the above, he’s keen to pick up where he left off, now 72.
It’s very easy to forget Mike Myers is in fact under that funny facade, and, possibly that is the point.
The Gong Show will be taped in front of a live audience in Los Angeles and is set to premiere this summer on June 22. Celebrity guest judges have already been confirmed, including but not limited to: Zach Galifianakis, Alison Brie, Andy Samberg, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Dana Carvey, Will Forte, Jack Black and Anthony Anderson.
If The Gong Show is before your time and aren’t across re-runs, it’s a type of variety show, highlighting all sorts of performers. The show includes a panel of celebrity guest judges and… a gong, of course. The gong is banged if the contestant performing isn’t quite up to par and that’s the not-so-subtle cue to leave the stage. Ouch.
In case you missed it, here’s a look back at the original from the 1970s with the late Chuck Barris hosting:
There are a lot of moving parts, but this sounds like a lot of fun — what do you think!?Read More