Right in the middle of Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz Tour Special on NBC Sunday, another music celebrity famous for make-up, platform shoes and transgressive stage performances popped up in a commercial. It was Gene Simmons of KISS, who’ll guest star on the premier episode of Welcome to Sweden on NBC Thursday night. Long before Miley Cyrus–heck, long before Billy Ray Cyrus–was even an idea, Gene Simmons transformed a giant tongue and a taste for eroticism into an international entertainment phenomenon, fronting KISS and changing the lives of 70s teens and tweens the same way Miley does now, to judge from the fantastic emotion on display during the Bangerz special.
Simmons, with his raven hair and dangerous face, dominated the brief pale Scandinavian scenes touting the series premier. (Welcome to Sweden is a comedy of cultural clashing created by brother and sister Greg and Amy Poehler, shot on location in Stockholm.) A conversation between Cyrus and Simmons might be extraordinary–and not just because of the tongues they’d use. Cyrus lays claim to a rough childhood, but consider that of Gene Simmons, or Chaim Witz, as he was called at birth: The KISS star was born in Israel and emigrated with his mother to Queens, NY at age eight, speaking no English. According to Wikipedia, his mother and her brother were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust. Miley Cyrus played Disney’s Hannah Montana on TV.