Saturday, June 24, 2017

gong show blues

I'll admit it: I have some pretty fond memories of my misspent youth. The Gong Show is one. As my sweet husband says, "I loved getting up and turning on the Gong Show." Well, it started at noon, so that should tell you something. I don't know how long it played, it could have been one season or a decade -- time is a funny thing -- but acts such as "Having My Baby," a musical number sung by a guy in a dick suit with a condom on it; or Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, Fish Out of Water, and who can forget The Unknown Comic? These little vaudeville acts were funny. You didn't even have to be loaded, but it didn't hurt. And, to make it all work, in the center of the gong, was the master of ceremonies, the man with the shepherd's hook, the great part-time CIA assassin, Chuck Barris. I saw him at Wordstock a few years ago. It was inspiring to see him in person, and although I'm sad that he died, I'm glad he wasn't watching CBS last night.

As you may know, The Gong Show attempted a comeback. It may not have been on CBS. It doesn't matter. It was wrong. It was sick and sad and not funny at all and the winning act was part porn part carnival barker part drag queen vomiting bananas. It wasn't pleasant. It was the vaudevillian equivalent of Running Man. Entertainment gone awry. There is such a thing as too far. And just because it is allowable according to our rigorous FCC standards, does that mean its good? We still can't say shit on TV, but this is okay? And I fear there will be more episodes because people were laughing and it was billed as good summer fun. And Michael Myers as an aging Austin Powers version of Barris, in yet another attempt to resuscitate his career, was an affront to my hazy memories. Who's my cheeky monkey? Really?

You can't go home again. This we know.

1 comment:

nina said...

so true. every last word.