Comedy Central is bringing back “The Gong Show.” The new version of the cult 70′s tv hit will be hosted by veteran comedian Dave Attell.
Attell is best known for his show Insomniac on Comedy Central. I respect the work of almost all comedians (o.k., except maybe Carrot Top) but this is a really bad fit. Successful game show hosts all have the same type of personality. They are generally smooth-talking (Wink Martindale), huggable (Bob Barker), guys you just want to kiss (Richard Dawson.) Some comedians (like Drew Carey) are even capable of making the successful move to game show host. Dave Attell isn’t that guy.
I know The Gong Show is a different animal, but Attell HATES people. Also, he’s the type of guy that, on occassion, can get the audience to turn on the host. That can’t happen. Any show host must remain in control of his audience.
Chuck Barris, The Gong Show’s original host, is a perfect example. Barris always kept control on the show even though he was surrounded by lunacy. Granted, Barris was a unique talent (equal parts genius and madman), but it was clear the audience pressure was always on the hapless performers. Barris gave Jamie Farr credibility for God’s sake. Some of the judges Attell will be working with incude Andy Dick, Ron White and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Honestly, with that group, being led by Attell, who could they possibly find to walk off the street that ISN’T funnier and has more credibility than Andy Dick?
Attell is a bad choice for the Barris role. Although he’s done good work in the past, I saw his last cable special and the bottom line is dude’s just not that funny any more. Just because you’re Viacom and you owe a guy hundreds of thousands of dollars on his existing contract DON’T try to pigeon-hole that guy into a spot. Comedy Central should know better. They have always done a brilliant job of finding the perfect person for the roles they are filling like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Not this time.