|Dan Rowan (left) and Dick Martin. Hosts of Laugh-In|
NBC's hit 1960s show Laugh In, hosted by Dick Martin and Dan Rowan, began life as a one-off comedy special which aired on US television on September 9, 1967 but proved to be such a raving success it was brought back a year later as a prime-time Monday night comedy series which ran until 1973.
|Pure 60s. Roan and Martin's Laugh-In|
Often cited as having its roots in burlesque, the Laugh-In formula was quick and pithy and always introduced by the casual, laid back Rowan and Martin doing their shtick. Features included recurring sketches, a 'joke wall', where various members of the cast would open a pair of doors and say something amusing, if predictable; pre-taped regular segments and a live-to-tape 'mod-party' back-drop where the regulars and guests would quip between groovy dance moves. Laugh-in boasted some big name guest appearances and many of the oft repeated catch phrases from the show became popular buzzwords - such as verrry interesting, sock it to me and is that a chicken joke?
While screwball, mayhem-inspired sketch comedy had already been popularised by The Goons on radio in the UK a decade earlier, the nonsense humour format was revolutionary by US TV standards and reflected a scewed but highly relevant mirror image of the cultural memes of the day. It was silly and it was modern...Goldie Hawn wore bikinis and body slogans after all. Audiences responded to the hipness and irreverence and the show was a great vehicle for performers, helping to launch the careers of several of its regulars, including Goldie Hawn (who played the classic dumb blonde) and Lily Tomlin.
|Goldie Hawn, a popular regular on Laugh-In|
The 1960s in general, broke new ground in lampooning the establishment and rattling the status quo cage. Situation comedy which upheld traditional values and Mom's apple pie had to give away some ground to the new wave of irreverent comedy.
|Jo AnneWorley in madcap mode|