The Unknown Comic is the stage name for Canadian-American actor and stand-up comic Murray Langston, best known for his comic performances on The Gong Show, usually appearing with a paper bag over his head.
Langston began his career in 1970 when he appeared on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, doing impressions of a fork, a tube of toothpaste and a grandfather clock. Later, at the suggestion of Redd Foxx, he teamed with comedian Freeman King, and after appearing on several episodes of The Midnight Special, they were spotted by producers and soon became regular performers on the The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.
After over 100 appearances with Sonny and Cher, Langston began to make appearances on many more series, including The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, The Wolfman Jack Show, and The Bobby Vinton Show.
Langston also invested in a nightclub restaurant called "SHOW-BIZ", but the club closed within two years, taking his savings. Strapped for cash, he accepted an offer to appear on The Gong Show. However, he was reportedly embarrassed about appearing on the show, so he put a bag over his head, memorized a few old jokes, and became "The Unknown Comic". The character was a hit, and soon developed a cult following, appearing on more than 150 Gong Show episodes. Soon, he was appearing regularly in Las Vegas and made the rounds of many popular talk and variety shows.
Langston later produced The Unknown Comedy Hour for Playboy TV, followed by The Sex and Violence Family Hour, starring a very young Jim Carrey. He also wrote the screenplays for the films Night Patrol (1984), Up Your Alley (1988), and Wishful Thinking (1997), and was co-host of "The NEW Truth or Consequences" (1987).
In the early 1990s, Langston decided to retire from show business to concentrate on raising his daughter as a single father.