ABC is launching a new, updated version of the classic game show The Gong Show for this summer, where contestants will be "gonged" by someone on the panel of hosts if their act is too terrible and needs to stop. And what a panel they are assembling, with the likes of Andy Samberg, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Dana Carvey, Zach Galifianakis, Alison Brie, Anthony Anderson, Jack Black, and Will Forte joining producer Will Arnett on the judge's panel as rotating judges. But the curious part is the host.
Comedian Tommy Maitland will be tapped to fill the role that Chuck Barris made famous, but the interesting part is that Tommy Maitland is widely believed to be actor and comedian Mike Myers. Not only does he have a Twitter page, created today, but an elaborate backstory from being in the British Army, a following in Italy for loving Spaghetti Western films, hosting an Australian game show called Dingos got the Baby, and starring in some James bond knockoff films (which is the giveaway here). He is also a 72 year old man. Think Martin Short and Jiminy Glick. Arnett played along saying this:
"I've been a huge fan of Tommy since I first saw his stand-up in the U.K. while traveling as a teenager. 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," said Arnett, playing into the gag. "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."
Maitland also gave a phone interview exclusive to The Hollywood Reporter, where he talked about wanting to eat fish tacos and how that would make Freud sweat, how to make a Maltese cross (punch them in the face), and his British influences: Bob Monkhouse, Terry Wogan, and Bruce Forsyth for his catchphrases and catchposes. All of it is pretty funny, and nothing new for the creator of Austin Powers. My favorite quote however was this one, from BroadWayWorld:
"When Will Arnett came to me and asked me to host 'The Gong Show,' I said, 'I'm honoured at the request, but I'm retired,'" said Tommy Maitland. "Then he told me how much I was being paid, in U.S. dollars, and I said, 'I'm still honoured, but no longer retired.'"
I love the old Gong Show, and if this one is anything like that, which it looks to be, we are in for a treat. Myers is a comedic genius, so I will be watching with anticipation when the Gong Show premieres June 22 on ABC.