Chuck Barris

Regarding the Chuck Barris column:

Like Cecil, I also assume that “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is fiction. However, at least one thing in the movie rang true.

Sorry to say I was a regular viewer of the “Gong Show.” In my memory, toward the end of its run, Barris became quite erratic. He had his characteristic clapping and stumbling around for alot of the run of the show, but toward the end it appeared that he really was completely out of it, and really did not give a shit, whether from drugs or lack of sleep or whatever. It really was quite sad to watch toward the end.

The movie portrays this on-air breakdown, and attributes it to everything in his secret life finally getting the better of him. Whatever the cause, I certainly recall seeing that breakdown in progress. Does anyone else have a similar recollection?

I miss the unknown Comic.

I miss Jaye P. Morgna. Yowza.

I was disappointed by the column. Yes, it’s fairly obvious that the CIA stuff is fiction, but shouldn’t Cecil still have taken the time to do a bit of research to dispute some things, instead of just saying how silly it all sounds? Couldn’t he, for example, check if a “Sunny Sixkiller” bought airline tickets in that timeframe? He really only gave us his opinion, not any facts.

first clue: it’s subtitled an unauthorized autobiography.

Right on. After all, it should be extremely easy to check 30-year-old records of unnamed airlines (many of which are defunct) for unnamed dates and unnamed destinations and get their passenger manifests. Who does Cecil think he is, anyway?

Gotta go with RevTim on this one. The column was a total wuss-out in regards to answering the question. The answer was, basically, “we know it’s fiction because we know it’s fiction”. Even one item cited, that Barris has been dodgy about his age and other life-details could just as easily be the behavior of a spy as a liar.

Roscopc: So what? I took that as a wry commentary on the mental breakdown he describes himself going through (i.e. you’d have to be schizo to write an unauthorized autobiography)

Exapno: Nobody (including Cecil) has ever indicated the job is easy…


On a tangent, I remember liking “The Gong Show” when Gary Owens hosted it. I didn’t like Chuck Barris when he took over. He wore a Harpo Mark-like top hat and kept trying to be funny and basically failing. Of course, I was nine at the time, so probably a bit older than the targetted intellectual age of the show!

Cecil coulda called the CIA. He probably didn’t know that would work, because their policy is that they won’t say who works or has worked for them, but in an interview I saw with Clooney and Barris, the interviewer called the CIA, and their media person said, “It’s CIA policy never to reveal who has or hasn’t worked for the CIA. However, in this case, we’ll make an exception. Chuck Barris never worked for us.”

bup -

Respectfully, I not sure I believe you. You really, REALLY saw this yourself? Where? What channel? What show? Sounds an awful lot like urban legend to me…Are you SURE it’s not “a friend told me he saw this.” Or “I didn’t actually see it, but wish I had because it sure is funny.” The CIA has NO sense of humor in my experience…

Barris admitted that it was made up after the book originally came out and it didn’t matter what he said. But he’s certainly not stupid enough to do so now when the publicity has been so fantastic and he’s making the rounds of every talk show dancing around the question.

Entertainment Weekly did an article called The Gong Goodbye that pretty well covers this.

Besides, isn’t the point that it’s incumbant upon Barris to provide some proof of his assertions, rather than having someone else need to disprove total fiction?

Oh, and the CIA has been quoted as denying Barris ever was a hitman for them in any number of articles on the movie.

Yeah, I saw it myself. I didn’t call the CIA, of course, but the interviewer said he had. It was a couple/few weeks ago, when they were publicizing the movie. I was flipping around channels and it was late at night. I’ll try to see if I can remember more.


Search for

“As agency spokesman Mark Mansfield says”

Anyone else see Barris on Letterman a few weeks ago? Dave asked him if all that guff were true, and Barris got coy and said, “Well, I prefer not to confirm or deny, blah blah blah…”

And Dave said what we were all thinking: “So that means ‘no,’ right?”

Big laugh. Change subject.

Realize that I too think it’s all hoo-ha, but two things:

  1. The exact quote about the CIA’s Mark Mansfield is “And he noted that standard CIA prodedure is never to comment on whether someone works for the CIA or not, but in this case, he’d make an exception.” He never actually says “no, he didn’t work here.” He never says he IS making an exception. He says He WOULD make an exception. Reads more like he’s saying “if it were up to me…” It’s still not a yes or no.

  2. More importantly, the various cites above (and my nitpicking of the CIA cite aside, the Entertainment Tonight one IS pretty convincing, the two together pretty compelling, no?) were found easily enough by board members. I stand by my original sentiment that whether the “answer” is yeah or nay, Cecil really took the kitty-cat way out on this one…

Ooh - I’m watching Barris on Conan RIGHT NOW!

I wouldn’t have recognized him if he hadn’t been introduced. Maybe the CIA had him replaced with a double, who then aged badly! :slight_smile:


Guys, Cecil gave the question all the seriousness it deserved.

I always love it when people are too wrapped up in a thing to see that they are being taken for a ride. No one could possibly read the book or watch the movie and think that it was intended to be believed. Debunking it is roughly the equivalent of debunking a really bad gossip rag’s claim of two-headed alien baby born to pot-smoking heifer.

No one who really has read Cecil all this time would have expected any other answer. :rolleyes:

Mr. Barris writes fiction, but not very original fiction. From the column

The “Runaway Grandmother” is one of the oldest and best-known Urban Legends out there. I suppose you could choose to delude yourself into believing the legend was based on Chuck’s real-life experiences. I do not so choose.

bibliophage, no one is saying we think it isn’t pure bullshit. I just think Cecil could have taken the time to factually disprove at least 1 or 2 items being claimed, that’s all.