I just finished reading David Bianculli’s book, Dangerously Funny, The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was a wonderful walk down memory lane taking me back to my childhood in the mid 1960’s when I savored both the humor and the music of this ground-breaking variety show.
What I did not know was that there was so much controversy surrounding the show’s outspoken political perspectives. In the midst of the Vietnam War and stern television censorship, the Smothers Brothers fought for three years to maintain their freedom of speech. While the content of those shows seems mild today, they were not for those times.
What I admire about Tom and Dick Smothers (mostly Tom) was that they were committed to doing a good show while at the same time providing social commentary about things that Americans should have been concerned about – while maintaining a very funny perspective. They were criticized and ultimately fired for their views but not before opening the door for other significant shows like All in the Family, Laugh In, and M*A*S*H.
You can read an NPR interview with author David Bianculli here: NPR Dangerously Funny Interview.
You can purchase the book here: Dangerously Funny