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Smothers Comedy Hour Season 2
SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR: BEST OF SEASON 2 with liner notes by David

Smothers Comedy Hour
SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR: BEST OF SEASON 3 with liner notes by David

Smothered
SMOTHERED: THE CENSORSHIP STRUGGLES of the SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR - 2002 documentary by Maureen Muldaur

You Tube
THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE...

REVIEWS FOR "DANGEROUSLY FUNNY"

From the Library Journal
Beginning with his decidedly wry and ironic title, veteran television critic and current NPR 'Fresh Air' commentator Bianculli ('Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously') immediately sets the tone for this deliciously informative and entertaining story of the venerable Smothers Brothers' 50--year run and their tempestuous struggles with the CBS censors during the three-season reign of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.'

Combining extensive interviews with siblings Tom, Dick, and Sherry Smothers; Smothers stalwarts Pat Paulsen, comedian David Steinberg, and musician Mason Williams; and television industry suit Fred Silverman, this is a revelatory and surprisingly balanced treatment of the conflict between the artists and the corporatists. Bianculli excels at juxtaposing the story of the longest continuing, artistically subversive comedy team with the contemporary political landscape. Highlights include the superbly related back story of the mock "Pat Paulson for President" campaign.

Verdict This title will appeal to pop culture and 1960s counterculture fans, students of communication and the history of mass media, and to all entertainment and comedy readers.
--Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX

From the Publisher's Weekly
Tom and Dick Smothers had confrontations with CBS censors when they did their satirical television series from 1967 to 1969. To write this authoritative and entertaining examination of a comedic cornerstone, TV critic Bianculli ('Teleliteracy') interviewed scores of producers and performers. He reveals what went on behind the cameras and also probes "the generational, artistic, and moral duels being fought in the '60s."

He opens with the childhood of the brothers (and sister) when their father became a WWII POW fatality. After high school and college bands, the brothers rode the folk music wave into San Francisco's Purple Onion, switched to comedy at Aspen, and recorded their debut comedy album in 1960, exploding into fame on Jack Paar's Tonight show. After the failure of their 1965-1966 CBS sitcom, they went full throttle when their variety series, 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,' began taping in 1967, pushing boundaries "musically, comically, satirically, politically" and courting controversy. They strove for topicality while CBS scrambled to avoid it: "For CBS, almost every mention of religion, sex, drugs, politics, and war was anathema."

Reviewing each episode, entire sketches and individual gag lines, the book probes internal battles, with Tom Smothers "fighting censors, executives, affiliates, and increasingly his own managers and staff members." Documenting each event that led to the show's cancellation, he concludes this entertaining and well-researched bio with the duo's huge influence on "today's TV troublemakers and iconoclasts." (Dec. 1)

From Kirkus
A comprehensive history of the embattled, groundbreaking variety program 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.'

NPR TV critic Bianculli ('Dictionary of Teleliteracy: Television's 500 Biggest Hits, Misses, and Events, 1996,' etc.) traces the development of the Smothers's act, which began in 1967 and featured the stuttering, spacey Tom and his straight-laced brother, Dick, performing acoustic folk songs interspersed with zany asides and brotherly bickering. This family-friendly act would ironically serve as a springboard for some of the most daring commentary and satire to appear in a prime-time program up to that point--a distinction that secured the Smothers's legacy as TV pioneers and, ultimately, cost them their platform and lead to a disastrous relationship with their network, CBS.

The author effectively conveys the excitement generated by the late-'60s heyday of the 'Comedy Hour' in its young fans, as its mandate to present fresh new musical acts, including the Who and Buffalo Springfield, and to comment on social issues stood in sharp relief to the staid fare typical of the day. A fascinating cast of characters, including the writer and musician Mason Williams, faux presidential candidate Pat Paulsen, hippy love child Leigh French and irreverent monologist David Steinberg, keeps the narrative hopping, and Bianculli captures the special essence of each performer.

The heart of the story concerns Tom Smothers's epic clash with the draconian standards and practices (read: censorship) department of CBS. The author details the infamous cutting of Pete Seeger's anti-Vietnam ballad "Waist Deep in Big Muddy," the fallout from Steinberg's edgy religious material and censored appearances by Harry Belafonte and Elaine May, as well as Tom's cheeky brinksmanship and legal battles with the corporate culture at the network. It's striking to realize how mild much of the contested material seems today, which speaks to the climate of caution and fear that ruled mainstream TV entertainment in the '60s. The Smothers Brothers lost their show in 1969, but won victories that continue to pay dividends to this day.

A fast-paced, informative reminder of the importance of speaking out.