The Michael Wong Show: Part I

There was a short-lived talk show back in 1998 that only lasted 2 episodes. A short-lived series that could have become something great. With low ratings and a watchful eye from the FCC, the show never had a chance to grow too much. Maybe it was too far ahead of its time. I was lucky enough to capture the only episodes ever to air on television. I am not sure if it ever went to a network or just stayed on local programming. Either way, “The Michael Wong Show” was a masterpiece. Michael Wong was new to the business of late night talk show hosting. Before entering into the gig, Michael was a chinese express manager and a member of the Red Army. After being forced into retirement, Michael took to the air with his new show. During an interview with Larry King, Michael told Larry,

I have always wanted to show the that the world of talk shows isn’t only supreme to white males. I came from a long line of cooks and military brats. I felt I was destined for more. If not, then I kick-a your butt.

Michael did just that. He brought a style of humor to the late night world and entertained the few viewers he had with his banter and energy. Michael was up there with all the greats. You can easily put him next to Greg Kinnear, Pat Sajak, Magic Johnson, and Alf. The fact of the matter was, he was a great host. He connected with his guest.  Like all great talk show host, Wong had his sidekick. After a brief career in the movie business, Gizmo (Gremlins) ventured out to expand his resume with a little sidekicking. Gizmo brought a little fun to the show. He’d give the laughable jab to Michael and always delivered a sealed envelope of the daily top ten list.

After a bit of research, the top ten list was ended when executives from CBS and “The Late Show with David Letterman” hit them with a copyright and demanded them to cease the top ten list. Never getting passed two episodes, it is unclear if the producer at the Michael Wong Show took the lawsuit seriously. A representative from the Letterman show had this to say about the debacle,

Many late night talk show hosts make a lasting impressions with a routine they feel as if it is their own. Leno has his Jaywalking. CoCo has his visions of the year 3000. Letterman has his top ten list. The Michael Wong Show had nothing of its own. It chose to steal the creation and the uniqueness of the Letterman show, in hopes to ride on the coat-tail of a highly successful and well liked performer. Letterman does not claim himself as the creator of the ‘top ten list’ but his humor and the legacy of the bit has withstood the test of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Wong walked out on stage with pasty skin and a nine-inch chin. He’s that cheap.- Hans Neekinfukin, 1999

The Michael Wong Show was no holds barred. The FCC had a field day censoring the show. Lucky for you, I  have in my hands the unedited episodes. Even being a person with no conscience and a slightly askew sense of humor, I found some of this material too much. It’s no wonder the FCC had an issue with the show. Aside from the amount of cursing, I am amazed at the guest list he landed for the show. A list that included Jim Carrey (Truman Show, Ace Ventura, Liar Liar) and even Karl (Slingblade).

On a budget of zero dollars, the Michael Wong Show was filmed in what looks like someone’s living room. Poor lighting, a below par sound quality,and the video itself seems as if it was filmed using an old handycam camcorder. There didn’t appear to be much of a crew either. The only credits to the show were Michael Wong, Shaggy, and the producer of the show, Ming. After news of the shows cancellation came out, Ming made this statement.

I only wanted to show people, Chinese people have sense of humor. We have billion of people in our country. You’re bound to find one with a funny bone. I guess America people weren’t ready for something this extreme. Hopefully one day we return with a bigger budget and bigger guests. It was a good run. Michael, Shaggy, and I have no ill feelings towards the network executives.

Such a waste of good talent. While only two shows actually made it to air, there was a third show listed only as “pilot”. Even with the pilot, some have to wonder how this low-budget show got picked up by any network. Even if that network was a local cable access channel. In spite of not having a budget, the show went on. The Michael Wong Show was made possible from a number of local and nationwide sponsors. P.O.T, Purina, and a failed Penis Enhancer Drug (Huge Sausage) are just a few products that gave the show the finances it needed to go on, even if it was only for two shows.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOlrphTp-PQ

The Michael Wong Show did have a number of colorful and crude guests. I’d list them all now but videos of the shows will be up later. Rap Master Funk Ass P was the only guest two appear in both episodes, showing up in the pilot and even ending the first show with a musical number. He could easily put that no talent hack Eminem to shame. Word is, Rap Master Funk Ass P has left the business of bitches and hos and now raps for the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But, before dropping his beats for a psalmer life, he rapped about what he knew best—the magic P word. Below is Billboard Charts #629 Rap song of 1997:

My Sister P – Rap Master Funk Ass P

There is much more to come. I will be posting the uncensored episodes throughout the week. It’s sad to see how a show so ahead of its time didn’t get the respect it deserved. The show might have been raunchy and full of 4-letter words, but it had heart. It would be nice to see the show come back for one more episode. I am trying to find the contact information for Michael Wong. I’d like to interview him and the others that took part in the show. I hope to find out if they have anything in the works for the future. If not, I am willing to bust open my piggy bank and front the money myself. I wonder what guest they can nab this time? Guess we’ll find out.

Keep tuned in to the Wong Station. You’re up late with Michael Wong!

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pitweston

I like food. I like the smell of cinnamon.

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