The Kong Show on TV
Bringing you all the laughs and entertainment you can handle, on-demand 24/7.
Over the past year, with circumstances the way they've been, we have all spent more time than ever before in our home just trying to avoid boredom while staying safe and sane.
You've probably watched re-run upon re-run of your favorite shows until you can quote from memory the words that are coming up in the next scene BEFORE the actor can speak them. And that's not good. Boring never is.
Slowly but surely, though, Hollywood and the networks are getting back in the groove of things and are finally giving us brand new shows.
However, if you happen to be looking for something that's fresh, fun and entertaining to watch, there's no need to rely solely on the corporate giants of TV.
There is some great local programming that's being produced right here in Astoria by long-time residents and professional comedian/writers Powell Leonard and Ella Louise Smith.
Together, they makeup Powella Productions, a company that is involved in producing web and TV content plus, hopefully, with the pandemic eventually starting to wind down, live shows, once again.
Powell and Ella have oodles of charisma and personality. They know just how to put on a show that you won't soon forget.
A homage to classic 60's and 70's television comedy-variety series like The Gong Show and Carol Burnett, The Kong Show on TV is a fast-paced, laugh out loud web series
that will make you forget your cares of the day......whatever they may be.
What really makes this show one of a kind is that the intriguing plot and sketch comedy bits are interwoven with a diverse line-up of variety acts, everything from dancers, DJ's and mentalists to magicians and more.
Available on Vimeo, YouTube and Kongshowtv.com, the series is filmed almost entirely on location in our neighborhood as well as in a studio just around the corner from the Kaufman-Astoria lot.
Breaking news: Recently, Powell, Ella and the Kong Show team submitted an episode of the series to ROKU TV, who have been holding an independent filmmaker's competition. So, things are looking good that you will, one day soon, be able to catch Powell and Ella on the Roku platform.
Like most of their fellow Astoria residents, neither Powell nor Ella grew up here.
"I grew up in Syracuse," Powell told Aplez.com. " Which is the land of seemingly never-ending snow. I then moved to Arizona, having joined a dance troupe. After a year of basking in the sun, I decided to make my way to NYC and struggle and starve as a dancer living near Times Square. "
With a laugh, Powell said " I never quite made it to Broadway in Manhattan but I ended up on Broadway over in Astoria. A friend of a friend was looking for a roommate in Astoria and I was, like, yeah, sure. Astoria it is! "
Ella adores everything about her adopted neighborhood, especially the diversity of the neighborhood with so many different and intriguing cultures being represented.
"I moved to Astoria a couple of years after I met Powell. I am originally from Denver, Colorado and came to New York to pursue my love of the performing arts."
Ella credits her parents, Elmer E. Smith, a poet, and Mary Jane, with encouraging Ella to pursue her creative instincts.
"I was cast in a youth theater production of That's Entertainment. I got to sing and tap dance. From that moment on I was hooked. Soon after that, I did a girl scout cookie commercial with none other than the Brady Bunch's Ann B. Davis. I got to meet Debbie Reynolds! Imagine that. up close and personal with Princess Leah's (Carrie Fisher's) mom. So the "force" is with me. "
A synopsis of the Kong Show on TV cannot possibly do it justice. There are a ton of moving parts and it's got to be seen to be believed. But, let's allow one of the creators, Powell Leonard, to spin the tale.
"Set in the fictional world of TV station KNG, The Kong Show on TV pulls back the curtain and lets our viewers in on the behind-the-scenes antics of the wacky cast and crew.
The station's billionaire owner Maroney Sparks, ( played by Rik Sansone), is plotting to score millions in a tax fraud scheme by sabotaging his own business. "
"However to Maroney's outrage and disbelief, his shenanigans are being foiled by the popularity of a new variety series, the Kong Show, hosted by yours truly, (as the character of Chuck E. Baby), and his sidekick Miz E. with a Z, who is played by my real-life partner Ella Louise Smith".
Bringing double trouble to the web series, Ella also portrays station manager Madison Lynne, who is assisting the owner in hatching his nefarious schemes. A superb actress with on-point comedic timing, Ella's portrayal of both characters is a tour-de-force.
What's the story, though, behind the name of the series?
Powell told Aplez.com that " The name is partially inspired by the legendary Chuck Barris TV series, The Gong Show. "
Chiming in, Ella said that " Since we originate out of the Big Apple and King Kong has been associated with NYC for generations, we kind of put the two names together and came up with the Kong Show. We're the world's biggest little vaudeville-style comedy and variety show."
Circling back around in the conversation, Powell told this writer that; "Ella and I ran a playwright and comedian's workshop for many years and, after a while, people said that some of these sketches and pieces should actually be produced for the camera. And so, we incorporated the sketches into our live shows and then started filming the web series."
Getting back to the show's inspirational figure, Chuck Barris; Ella and Powell had the honor of meeting this show business legend a few years ago.
That must have been an incredible experience. Powell could not have agreed more. It exceeded expectations.
" We met Chuck Barris at a book signing which was also a celebration of his80th birthday. He was a sweetheart of a guy. It was a fun time. Chuck gave us a thumbs-up on the name The Kong Show and we presented him with our mascot, Lenny the Lionhearted. So, somewhere on the estate of Chuck Barris, Lenny is still, hopefully, hanging out."
A couple in real life, Powell and Ella Louise have fantastic chemistry going for them. Nothing is forced. It's all very genuine. Maybe that's why it works so well.
This dynamic duo may be the stars of the show, but they are quick to give credit to the other performers who make the Kong Show on TV the internet sensation that it has become.
"I will be happy to tell you all about the many talented people who bring the Kong Show on TV to life". stated Ella. " But it will definitely take more than a sentence or two".
"Our crew is absolutely fantastic! We previously gave props to Rick Sansone who plays the TV station's wealthy owner. In real life, Rick is an illustrator who publishes Spaz Comics. Heather Suzanne, who is Rick's wife, plays the hot-to-trot New York Entertainment Times reporter Amanda McDuffy.. She is a dancer and also a web developer when she's not in front of the cameras."
Continuing on, Ella revealed that " Maurice Kessler, who portrays KNG-TV's accountant makes his living as a web developer and that Oscar Capel, who does the role of Lenny Linguini, a restaurateur and a Kong TV Show sponsor, was actually a long-time fan, who auditioned for a part."
One of the most interesting cast members is Kevin Patrick Corrigan. Portraying secret service agent Briggsby, Kevin is a professional musician and writer who has a book coming out about his days working as a bouncer "Dirty Days: True New York City Bar and Rock Stories".
The variety acts who are featured on a regular basis include the amazing Roger "Rogue" Quan, who appeared on America's Got Talent and Rene Clement who performed magic tricks on The Today Show.
Another stellar cast member is the incomparable Tommy Burnett, a mind reader in the tradition of the Amazing Kreskin. Born with cerebral palsy, Tommy has not allowed this disability to define who he is and has become one of the most requested acts on the Kong Show on TV.
And let's not forget the sublime and hilarious Lionhearted Players comedy troupe, which consists of some of the funniest people you'll ever want to meet; Bernard Bpsio, Brian Cornforth, Erica Fisher, Andy Lachman and Ashley Thane.
The roots of the Kong Show on TV are in live performances at comedy clubs throughout Manhattan. It's understandable that Powell and Ella cannot wait for the okay to be given for comedy spots to officially re-open. They feel that there is nothing like the adrenalin that comes with performing in front of a live audience.
Ella and Powell did a very successful three-year run of the Kong Show at the Iguana VIP Lounge which was just down the street from the theater that housed The Late Show with David Letterman.
Aplez.com wanted to know what Powell and Ella liked best about Astoria. They each offered their different takes on favorite spots to dine and chill out.
Powell revealed that the couple's go-to pub is " Cronin and Phelan's Bar and Restaurant. Their carrot ginger soup is the best and I can't get enough of the Shepherd's Pie. Also, the bartender there, Dave Cremin is a magician who makes the drinks appear. Dave has appeared at Dangerfield's, was in the movie Charlie Boy and has been a featured performer in both our lives and TV Kong shows."
As far as Ella is concerned, One of the hottest new eateries to open in the neighborhood, in quite some time, is Burger Village.
" They have fantastic organic burgers as well as a variety of salads. I got to go behind the scenes at Burger Village with a film crew from Astoria's Filmmaker's Club.
They were making a new series spotlighting Astoria restaurants, called What's So Special.
The menu there is super creative and the vibe is friendly. I was so impressed that the owner's Jack and Vinny opened the doors during these challenging times."
As micro-influencers, Ella and Powell are proud to shine the spotlight on local businesses on their web series and Instagram page. Now, more than ever, we all have to get out and show some love to the small business community.
As entertainers, Ella and Powell know that there is magic in laughter.
The folks over at The Kong Show on TV know that they are blessed to have this gift and they cannot wait to share it with you.
Never too cool for school, this comedy-variety extravaganza is accessible to one and all.
It's more than just sketch comedy. It's more than stand-up. It's more than you can imagine! It's the fantabulous Kong Show on TV.
Check it out at www.kongshowtv.com