Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Laugh-In was an American television series, which ran on NBC from 1968 until 1974. Its hosts were comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The show's name came from a trend of naming public events with an "-In", such as the Human Be-In of 1967.
Begun as a one-time television special, the first Laugh-In was so popular that it became a regular show in 1968. Hosts Rowan and Martin dressed in tuxedos, and played straight men to the other performers on the show. Radio host Gary Owens played the show's announcer. Producers George Schlatter and Ed Friendly worked behind the scenes, and did not appear on camera.
Laugh-In featured "topical humor", with most of its comedy based on current events. The show mocked contemporary trends and fashions, and imitated popular styles of the time. Regular features were "the Party", where performers told one-liners about current issues in a party setting, "Laugh-In Looks at the News", a mock news broadcast, and the "Joke Wall", where the cast ran from door to door in a specially-built wall, and told old jokes. The show also used catchphrases, including "Sock it to me!", "You bet your bippy!" and "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall!"
The show featured a large cast of performers, including many who were new to television. These included Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Lily Tomlin, Henry Gibson, Ruth Buzzi, Dave Madden, Joanne Worley, Alan Sues, Chelsea Brown, Judy Carne and others. Several of the performers went on to longtime comedy and acting careers. British actor Jeremy Lloyd and Hogan's Heroes cast members Richard Dawson and Larry Hovis also appeared on the show for a time.
Guests on Laugh-In included Tiny Tim, The Monkees, Ringo Starr, and other famous singers and actors. Some were veterans of show business, while others were newly famous, or became famous partly through appearing on the show. Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham, an African-American comedian not known to white audiences, was first imitated on the show by Sammy Davis, Jr., then appeared himself, becoming a surprise hit with the same Judge routine he had played for years on the "chitlin' circuit". ("Here come the Judge!" became another show catchphrase.) Richard M. Nixon appeared in a short segment on the show, when he was campaigning for President of the United States, and some people believed this helped him get elected.
The series became less popular as time went on, and ended in 1974, with the show's producers explaining that they had "run out of things to parody" (make fun of). A reunion special in 1979 led to a short revival of the show as a "summer replacement" series, featuring guests like Robin Williams.