It was a sad moment this week when news broke that Chuck Barris, creator and host of “The Gong Show” and the subject of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” had died at age 87. I’d met him many times during the show’s run from June 1976 to the final episode in September 1989.
Celebrity judges rated the acts, and only the horrendous ones would be stopped mid-routine when the judges would use a mallet to strike the huge gong. It was a hip parody of our show “Star Search,” and who will ever forget the gonged off-key trio harmonizing in a bathtub?
Judge Simon Cowell often tongue-lashed “American Idol” competitors with ruthless humiliation, whereas Chuck took the sting out of the criticisms. Now ABC is bringing back 10 episodes for a first run of a new version of the irreverent talent show this time produced by actor and comedian Will Arnett (“Arrested Development,” “30 Rock”).
Although many of the contestants will be discovered from YouTube videos and Internet displays, there will be live auditions. If you are a Las Vegas performer who can tap out a tune with your toes or sing upside down while doing headstands, here’s your big moment for Hollywood fame.
I’m thinking the wackier the better! Will is hosting auditions Saturday afternoon at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops of Planet Hollywood.