Why You Should Relive ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ on getTV

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Courtesy Everett Collection

“Irreverent is the word for the Smothers Brothers” declared the headline on TV Guide Magazine’s February 10, 1968, cover. At the time of their Comedy Hour, Tommy and Dickie (above, from left) were giving viewers political and social satire, smooth harmonies and slapstick — and giving CBS headaches with their controversial views.

“We didn’t cause the ’60s, you know. We were just guys that would carry the spear,” says Dickie, now 80 and a part-time Floridian who name-drops Lenny Bruce and singer Billie Eilish in the same conversation. (Tommy, 83 — the outrageous one to Dickie’s more logical straight man — is retired in Northern California.) Wearing tidy suits and innocent expressions, “We were nonthreatening, except what came out of us,” Dickie says.

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See for yourself: Their 1967–69 groundbreaker now airs Saturdays on getTV. Tonight’s episode features Bob Newhart, First Edition (with Kenny Rogers!), and a medley from the cast of the counterculture musical Hair that stirred up even the crew. “The guy working the boom mic ended up in a fistfight with my brother,” Dickie recalls.

The Hour‘s writing staff boasted a young Steve Martin (“He didn’t even have an office — he sat out with the secretary”) and Rob Reiner. And the musical guests were a who’s who (the Who included) of the era’s best rock bands.

But the brothers were the glue that held it all together. Says Dickie: “He couldn’t have been anything without me, and I couldn’t have been anything without him.”

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Saturdays, 11/10c, getTV