June 3, 1929 - March 21, 2017
An American original has passed.
RIP Chuck Barris, the iconic creator and host of the original Gong Show. He is the muse and inspiration for all we did and still do at The Gong Show Off Broadway. He was a kooky genius of the highest order, an astute businessman, funny, humble, unconventional, and kind. He was a risk taker and a trailblazer.
His legacy is much more than the Gong Show, as he was a prolific producer of TV games shows, an author, song writer, and an iconic pop culture figure on his own. But if the Gong Show were all that he did, it would have been enough. It wasn't just another game show, it was a paradigm shift. He changed television to this day, championed the wacky and quirky, and astonished millions of us while we laughed.
I revered him and sought his approval. I didn't always get it, but I cherished every interaction I had with him, nonetheless. There was a day I realized I had disappointed him, and I felt the same sting as if I had disappointed my own father. Chuck Barris meant a great deal to me, both personally and professionally. I hope we do his work justice as we carry on with the Gong Show Off Broadway.
The Gong Show Off Broadway.
This portrait, created by our friend and talented artist Ed Heck, perfectly captures my vision of where Chuck is now.