Comedy Central debuts its new version of The Gong Show tonight with host Dave Attell. In 1980, local band Four Eyes appeared on the original show, which was mostly known for the participants’ lack of talent.
“I wasn’t worried about ridicule,” says singer Mark DeCerbo, who currently fronts a reunited Four Eyes. “We thought it would be fun and good publicity. I had never seen a real band on there before.…
“They taped three shows in one day,” he recalls. “Unfortunately, we were to be in the third and last show, so we had to hang around, relaxing on big piles of packing blankets from about seven in the morning until five in the afternoon.”
The episode’s celebrity judges were Jamie Farr (“Klinger” from M*A*S*H), comedian Freeman King, and show regular Jaye P. Morgan.
“We did ‘Tutti Frutti’ by Little Richard. While we played, Jamie Farr got up and had ahold of Morgan’s feet and was gyrating them, while she was down on the floor [on her back] kicking them up in the air. King was throwing his hands over his head and boogying down. It was total mayhem, but it was over in one minute and 30 seconds.”
Most Gong Show acts ended with celebs hitting a giant gong, ending the performance and eliminating the contestant.
“We did not get gonged,” says DeCerbo. “We got 26 out of 30 points. Jamie Farr gave us 8 points and quipped, ‘Loved their Tutti, hated their Frutti.’ ” Despite the high score, “The winning act was a weak Holiday Inn performance of Boz Scaggs’s ‘We’re All Alone’ by a wedding-singer—type duo. It was wimpy and pathetic.”
Other musical acts to appear on original Gong Shows included Boxcar Willie, Green Jellÿ, RuPaul, and the Mystic Nights of the Oingo Boingo (who later shortened their name).
– Jay Allen Sanford