Dick Van Dyke: ‘The Masked Singer’ Is “the Weirdest Thing I’ve Ever Done”
Age is nothing but a number. The first celebrity to receive the axe from the latest season of The Masked Singer proved that: he was none other than living legend Dick Van Dyke, who called the reality singing competition series “the weirdest thing I’ve ever done” after his elimination.
The Masked Singer touted Van Dyke’s elimination as “the most legendary, decorated and beloved unmasking in history” in the promo leading up to the episode. The 97-year-old Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-award winning star of stage and screen was disguised as “Gnome” on The Masked Singer. Prior to his elimination, Van Dyke sang Billie Holiday’s jazz standard ”When You’re Smiling.” After his unmasking, Van Dyke performed a rendition of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Marry Poppins—the film in which he starred as Bert the chimney sweep opposite Julie Andrews.
After Van Dyke’s unmasking, judge Nicole Scherzinger was overcome with emotion. “I love you so much, we love you, the whole world loves you so much. It’s an honor to have you on our show,” said Scherzinger in tears. “I can’t believe you’re here. I’m trying to play it cool. You look so gorgeous, you look so handsome.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly post elimination, Van Dyke described his short-lived time on The Masked Singer as “the weirdest thing I’ve ever done.” Van Dyke admitted to never having seen the show before being asked to appear on it. “I was so positive that nobody would ever guess it was me, that they would have somebody 97 years old on there,” said Van Dyke. “I don’t think they expected anybody from my generation to be on that show. So I knew I was gonna fool them. They were so surprised. I stepped out and everybody’s mouths dropped open. I think some people thought I was dead.”
“I would say it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” said Van Dyke. The nonagenarian described his Gnome costume as “a great big like, Pumpkinhead thing that I had to do” and said that “it was really dark in there…I couldn’t see anything.”
“It was a weird experience,” continued Van Dyke. “I had two little peepholes I can see the audience with. It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic.”
Van Dyke told EW that he chose to sing Billie Holiday’s “When You’re Smiling” after producers asked him “to do more current songs, about which I know nothing.” He was flattered that judges thought that he might be Tony Bennett, and less thrilled others thought he was Dustin Hoffman or Robert DeNiro. “Wait a minute, those guys can’t sing,” said Van Dyke, laughing.
Despite being mere years away from the ripe age of 100, Van Dyke seemed to have a wonderful experience on The Masked Singer, calling the crew “so awesome” and saying that he’d like to return someday. “I’ve got to go back and hang out and see all the guys I worked with,” he said. “I wouldn’t recognize them.”