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Tommy Smothers has died. 😢


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This is a big one for me. Comedy, music, comics,science fiction, and being active in the great outdoors were my earliest and most influential interests.


I started collecting comedy records when I was six, covering some acts from before the fifties to the early nineties.


The Smothers Brothers were among my faves and of course as a teen, years later, their iconic versatile TV comedy hour was also a big deal to that whole cohort.


He was awesome, as is his brother, Dick.


Maybe someone can post a good article covering it. I couldn't use the one I read due to copyright.


Rip Tommy and thank you so much for giving do many of us so much.

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Tom Smothers, Comic Half of the Smothers Brothers, Dies at 86


Though he played a naïve buffoon onstage, he was the driving force behind the folk-singing duo’s groundbreaking TV show.


Tom Smothers, the older half of the comic folk duo the Smothers Brothers, whose skits and songs on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in the late 1960s brought political satire and a spirit of youthful irreverence to network television, paving the way for shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show,” died on Tuesday at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif., a city in Sonoma County. He was 86.


He died “following a recent battle with cancer,” a spokesman for the National Comedy Center announced on behalf of the family.


The Smothers Brothers made their way to network television as a folk act with a difference. With Tom playing guitar and Dick playing stand-up bass, they spent as much time bickering as singing.


With an innocent expression and a stammering delivery, Tom would try to introduce their songs with a story, only to be picked at by his skeptical brother. As frustration mounted, he would turn, seething, and often deliver a trademark non sequitur: “Mom always liked you best.”


Hoping to reach a younger audience, CBS gave the brothers creative control over “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” a one-hour variety show that made its debut in February 1967. For the next three seasons it courted controversy as it addressed American policy in Vietnam, religious fundamentalism, racial strife and recreational drug use.


Running features like Leigh French’s “Share a Little Tea With Goldie,” replete with drug references, either delighted or scandalized, depending on the age and the politics of the viewer.


“During the first year, we kept saying the show has to have something to say more than just empty sketches and vacuous comedy,” Mr. Smothers said in a 2006 interview. “So we always tried to put something of value in there, something that made a point and reflected what was happening out in the streets.”


Tom, more liberal than his brother and largely responsible for the production of the show, brought in writers attuned to the thinking of the Baby Boom generation — among them Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Pat Paulsen, and Mason Williams — and stretched the boundaries of taste at every turn.


“Easter is when Jesus comes out of his tomb, and if he sees his shadow he goes back in and we get six more weeks of winter,” Tom said on one show.


Far more combative than his mild-mannered brother, who survives him, Tom fought network executives and censors until CBS, tired of complaints from its rural affiliates, especially in the South, abruptly canceled the show in April 1969 and replaced it with “Hee Haw,” a corn-pone counterpart to the fast-paced (and often controversial) “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” that featured country music stars.


“In any other medium we would be regarded as moderate,” Tom Smothers told reporters at a news conference the day after the show was canceled. “Here we are regarded as rebels and extremists.”


Click on the link for the full article


Edited by China
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The Smothers Brothers' CBS show was cutting edge for its time and ushered in a sea change in network television.  They fought against CBS network censors during a turbulent time in the US.  They lost that battle but ultimately, considering how television changed in the years after, won the war.



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