Published on June 9, 2016
The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour… The tribulations of Tommy and Dick Smothers and their popular late-’60s television show are detailed in Maureen Muldaur’s interesting 92-minute documentary. Viewing the clips from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, one might find it hard to imagine that they were considered controversial at the time; indeed, the jabs at censorship, gun ownership, the Vietnam war, and more seem mild by today’s raunchy standards. But controversial they were, especially to CBS, who aired (and eventually canceled) the Smothers’ show. Turns out that Tommy, the “dumb” one, was in fact a gadfly who turned the program into a cause célèbre somewhat beyond its actual significance; and in the end, as one of the talking heads featured here points out, it was the Smothers’ decreasing sense of fun that really doomed it. Both brothers are interviewed, as are writers Rob Reiner and Steve Martin and others.