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Dangerously Funny

Dangerously Funny

The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"

A behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour -- the provocative, politically charged program that shocked the censors, outraged the White House, and forever changed the face of television.

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.
Choose a format:
  • Touchstone | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439101162 | 
  • December 2009
List Price $24.99
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Video

TV critic David Bianculli on the background of his new book, Dangerously Funny

A rollicking history of the rise and fall of the wildly influential Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and its lasting influence on the cultural landscape.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Six months after the tragic events of 9/11, at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, five defiantly outspoken performers were saluted for their often costly efforts to exercise their First Amendment rights as comedians. One was Bill Maher, who lost his ABC latenight talk show Politically Incorrect after remarking of the Al-Qaeda terrorist hijackers who commandeered passenger airliners and steered them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, “Staying in the airplane when it hits the building—say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.” Another was stand-up comic and... see more

About the Author

David Bianculli
Summer Davis

David Bianculli

David Bianculli has been a television critic for more than thirty years, currently on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and at www.tvworthwatching.com. He is also the author of two books on television and its impact: Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously and Dictionary of Teleliteracy: Television’s 500 Biggest Hits, Misses, and Events.

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