Today I learned something interesting about “The Gong Show.” (That’s a sentence I’ve never written.)
In a remembrance of Chuck Barris — creator and host of the wacky ’70s show, who died this week — Rolling Stone reported that Oingo Boingo was an early contestant on the show. The band went on to considerable success as a New Wave band in the 1980s, before leader Danny Elfman was tapped by movie director Tim Burton to score films such as “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Their first project together was “Pee Wes’s Big Adventure.”
Ironically, another early guest on “The Gong Show” was none other than Paul Reubens, playing the role of the awkward man-child, Pee Wee Herman.
I like to envision Reubens, Elfman and Barris meeting each other in the Green Room at “The Gong Show,” and thinking, “Nah, those guys will never make it. They’re too weird.”