The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Touchstone Books, Hardcover, 9781439101162, 382pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Decades before The Daily Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour proved there was a place on television for no-holds-barred political comedy with a decidedly antiauthoritarian point of view. In this explosive, revealing history of the show, veteran entertainment journalist David Bianculli tells the fascinating story of its three-year network run -- and the cultural impact that's still being felt today.
Before it was suddenly removed from the CBS lineup (reportedly under pressure from the Nixon administration), The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a ratings powerhouse. It helped launch the careers of comedy legends such as Steve Martin and Rob Reiner, featured groundbreaking musical acts like the Beatles and the Who, and served as a cultural touchstone for the antiwar movement of the late 1960s.
Drawing on extensive original interviews with Tom and Dick Smothers and dozens of other key players -- as well as more than a decade's worth of original research -- Dangerously Funny brings readers behind the scenes for all the battles over censorship, mind-blowing musical performances, and unforgettable sketches that defined the show and its era.
David Bianculli delves deep into this riveting story, to find out what really happened and to reveal why this show remains so significant to this day.
"It is hard for many of us to remember--back when there were only a handful of stations on the dial--just how profoundly influential and controversial the Smothers Brothers were. But David Bianculli's brilliant new book has brought it all back to vivid life. ...This is a superb, at times moving, portrait of an entire age -- seen through the dramatic careers of two endlessly interesting entertainers." -- Ken Burns, Filmmaker
"David's book documents a true prime-time crime caper pulled off forty years ago. The perpetrators got away. The Smothers Brothers and the American viewing audience paid the price. As another old saying goes, 'Freedom is a dangerous way of life.' It was ours -- and thanks to David, this is our story." -- Mason Williams, writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
"David Bianculli details the Smothers Brothers' challenging of the CBS censors and the politicians of the '60s, and gets it exactly right. The Smothers Brothers deserve to be placed alongside Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and other rebellious comedy spirits who were willing to risk everything for what they believed. Compelling from start to finish -- a book to cherish." -- David Steinberg
In the late 1960s, Tommy and Dick Smothers challenged those who tried to tame their wildly popular show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. TV critic David Bianculli joins host Terry Gross to talk about the legendary comedy duo who tackled political issues and censorship. More at NPR.org
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