Synopses & Reviews
andlt;bandgt;A behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of andlt;iandgt;The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hourandlt;/iandgt; -- the provocative, politically charged program that shocked the censors, outraged the White House, and forever changed the face of television. andlt;/bandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Decades before andlt;iandgt;The Daily Showandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hourandlt;/iandgt; 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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Before it was suddenly removed from the CBS lineup (reportedly under pressure from the Nixon administration), andlt;iandgt;The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hourandlt;/iandgt; 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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; 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 --andlt;iandgt; Dangerously Funnyandlt;/iandgt; 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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; David Bianculli delves deep into this riveting story, to find out what andlt;iandgt;reallyandlt;/iandgt; happened and to reveal why this show remains so significant to this day.
"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.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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 andlt;iandgt;The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hourandlt;/iandgt;
"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
A rollicking history of the rise and fall of the wildly influential Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and its lasting influence on the cultural landscape.
"Dangerously Funny" presents a rollicking history of the rise and fall of the wildly influential '60s TV show, and it's lasting influence on the cultural landscape.