The Gong Show – Opinion

The Gong Show airs Thursdays, 10pm on ABC.

You might remember The Gong Show from the 1970s. Amateur talent would compete, and if the act was particularly bad, a judge would slam a giant gong to end the contestant’s presentation. The celebrity judge panel then rates the un-gonged talent, and the one with the most points wins a prize at the end. The show was fun and unlike other talent competitions, featured more offbeat, quirky acts. Now, in 2017, ABC is bringing it back.

Each week the panel of judges will rotate. The premiere includes Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, and Ken Jeong. Andy Samberg, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Aniston, and Alison Brie are some of the big names who will be popping up in later episodes.

A good host is integral to good ratings. That’s why it seems odd that ABC tapped Tommy Maitland, a 62-year-old beloved British comic who starred in the series The Lord Mayor. You’ve probably never heard of him, but that’s because he doesn’t exist. It’s actually Mike Myers in heavy makeup. Which begs the question: Why? It’s a cute idea, but ABC seems a bit too dedicated to this gag.

The producers have given “Maitland” a detailed backstory, an active Twitter account, and refuse to acknowledge that he’s actually Myers in any of the show’s online marketing or print interviews. I have a feeling a lot of viewers who aren’t in on the joke will be awfully confused.

Still, if you’re looking for a talent show like no other, tune in to the rebooted Gong Show.