The original Gong Show* was both old-fashioned and a product of its time. Contestants went before the cameras to have their acts judged by a celebrity panel. If an act was bad enough, it was gonged.
Acts usually started off bad and deteriorated from there. Chuck Barris’ amateurish hosting meshed with the bad acts, while the celebrity panelists did whatever the hell they felt like. The show was a daily trainwreck, which is part of its enduring appeal.
To its credit, The Gong Show with Dave Attell remembers what made the original show good. The amateur performers are about as bad as on the original Gong Show. The top prize is $600 and a gaudy championship belt. The panelists have a rapport with each other and the show doesn’t pretend to be an earnest talent competition.
The main problem with The Gong Show with Dave Attell is that it’s too stiff. The host and panelists find it more necessary to deliver stinging one-liners to contestants/each other than to have fun with the format.
Andy Dick at least threatens a contestant with the gong mallet, but that’s as chaotic as The Gong Show with Dave Attell gets. Maybe the panelists are boring this episode. Not every panelist can be Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, where you can just sniff his non-butt and smell the money.
The Gong Show with Dave Attell isn’t as cheerfully haphazard as the original Gong Show, but it’s better than Extreme Gong. I give this show a 5 for execution and a 2.5 for Brian Posehn’s beard.
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