Bill Kerwin's Reviews > Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"

Dangerously Funny by David Bianculli
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's review
May 25, 2016

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bookshelves: history, biography
Read in March, 2010

Clearly written and organized, and very informative. Bianculli had the advantage of full access to the Smothers Brothers, and it shows.

Any of you remember that Firesign Theatre album title, "Everything You Know is Wrong"? Well, I found out this was true of my memory of the whole Comedy Hour controversy. I thought the series ended because of the Vietnam War, Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," and pressure from the Johnson White House, when in reality it had more to do with falling ratings (particularly in the Bible Belt), Tommy Smothers intransigence, and David Steinberg's edgy biblical routines.

Even if you remember the whole story better than I did, read the book anyway. It gives you an excellent picture of America in a period of profound transformation, and of the TV show that--for a few brief years--was on the cutting edge of that change.
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05/25 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Evan Got this one on request at the library, but I seem to be number 11 in the queue. Looks like a popular read.

Bill  Kerwin I'm only about 1/3 of the way in, but it looks pretty good. By the way, did you know that Tom and Dick had a sister named Sheri. That's right . . . Tom, Dick and Sheri!

Evan As Johnny Carson used to say: "I did not know that."

Evan Good review, Bill. I remember a lot of the variety shows like this shot to the top on their novelty value then tumbled as fast. "Laugh-In" was a perfect example. It shot to number one and a couple years later was gone; people got tired of basically seeing the same show every week. Although, this does not explain the decades-long popularity of Hee-Haw, which was the same show every week also.

message 5: by Steven (new)

Steven Peterson I enjoyed this show during its run. Sounds like an interesting reflection on the show. . . .

message 6: by Glen (new)

Glen Does it go into the 80s revival of the show, too?

Bill  Kerwin Glen wrote: "Does it go into the 80s revival of the show, too?"

Not that I remember.

message 8: by Forrest (new)

Forrest Great review. I was raised on Smothers Brothers records, which explains a lot . . .

message 9: by Jean (new)

Jean Interesting--just this week my daughter did a project on protest music of the V. War and we found out about this...

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