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There are arguably two events on television that have been met with a lot of denials, despite the evident truth. Jon Snow's "death" and Mike Myers being The Gong Show host Tommy Maitland. Despite rampant viewer speculation, the answer to whether Myers was playing Maitland, remained "no." That all changed this past January, when, over six months after the show premiered in June 2017, ABC confirmed the truth and renewed the series. So, why did Myers go to such extremes to create this character? Myers explained, saying:
I'm an old punk rocker, and there were a few things I would watch [growing up]: Saturday Night Live, Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club TV, and The Gong Show. There was something punk rock about the show . . . It was show business, but it had absolutely no ambition in it whatsoever---it was ambition-free. The show was kind of like performance art of a talent show. It's not really taking itself seriously. I just thought, if I'm doing this almost deconstruction of a talent show, I should be the ringmaster who is also deconstructed. It should be English in that way of keeping things moving, the super-gregarious [host].
Leave it to Mike Myers to put his unique spin on things. The actor's answer to Vanity Fair does provide tremendous insight into that process. The truth that Tommy Maitland is, in fact, a character, conjured from Myers' thriving imagination is unlikely to be a shock to many people. Even with the reality out there, viewers are undoubtedly curious as to what led to Myers making such a commitment. Albeit, his decision is not all that surprising, given his track record of creating characters he literally disappears into.
You have to admire not only his dedication to pulling off this character, but then denying his own feat for months. The laughs are not only left to the antics that occur on The Gong Show. A quick read of Mike Myers' intricately drawn and detailed backstory for Tommy Maitland, which can be read on ABC's website, offers an equally indelible laugh. The fact he put so much thought into it clearly catapulted Tommy Maitland into a realm of tangibility the audience has responded to strongly.
Mike Myers says he knew that people would figure it out. Arguably, the fun for the audience has involved Myers having to maintain the character in the face of that. Would The Gong Show revival have done as well without such an interesting twist? It is hard to know. One thing is more certain: it has not hurt the reboot. When contemplating the hilarious bit of subterfuge, Myers did not take into account how long he actually planned to keep his being Tommy Maitland a running ruse. Myers shared:
There's much less design in it than you would think. I thought it would be found immediately, and it was, but people enjoyed the audaciousness and the sheer whimsy of trying to maintain that [character]. Because it's just crazy to do . . . I didn't know there would be a second season. I didn't know I was going to enjoy it as much. I thought I would enjoy it, but it literally was a blast. . . . If I had continued to claim it wasn't me, you would think I had gone absolutely insane. To me, everything I've done is just sophisticated pretense and sort of high-end Halloween. To create this character...it was a dream come true.
This is not the first time viewers have had to do a double-take where Mike Myers is involved. He has disappeared into countless characters throughout the years, thanks to his run on SNL. Meaning he employed the disappearing act long before the Austin Powers franchise. In his second movie, So I Married an Axe Murderer, he played two roles: Charlie McKenzie, who bears Myers' likeness, and Charlie's father Stuart, who does not. No matter how he appears, though, what remains the same is Myers' ability to make us laugh.
Make sure your summer is filled with laughter and interesting characters. The Gong Show returns for Season 2, Thursday, June 21 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. For upcoming new and returning television shows you can watch soon on ABC and elsewhere, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's summer premieres.
Head to the next page to check out the ridiculous Season 2 trailer.
Check out Mike Myers bringing it as Tommy Maitland in the trailer for Season 2 of The Gong Show below:
Remember, The Gong Show will return for Season 2 on Thursday, June 21 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC