May 26, 2008

Sock it to me, Dick!


(opening sequence of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In)

Dick Martin, the zany half of comedy team Rowan and Martin, died saturday night in Santa Monica.

Dick Martin and Dan Rowan were a nightclub comedy duo, who then created an innovative and hilarious sketch comedy show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Martin was as much an air-head (see click above) as he was a
suave ladies man. Rowan, the voice of reason (and an excellnt straight man) tried to keep up with Martin's zany and often rather risque views of the world.

Laugh-in featured some truly great comics, like Goldie Hawn (also written about here), Lily Tomlin, and special guests, like Danny Kaye, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Orson Welles (this clip has Johnny Carson and John Wayne too!).

It was also rather cutting edge in its critique of American culture and politics.
Against this backdrop, audiences were taken from scene to scene by quick, sometimes psychedelic-looking visual cuts, where they might see Hawn, Worley and other women dancing in bathing suits with political slogans, or sometimes just nonsense, painted on their bodies. Other times, Gibson, clutching a flower, would recite nonsensical poetry or Johnson would impersonate a comical Nazi spy.

"Laugh-In" astounded audiences and critics alike. For two years, the show topped the Nielsen ratings, and its catchphrases- "Sock it to me," "You bet your sweet bippy" and "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's" - were recited across the country.

Laugh-in is definately my favorite of the sketch comedy shows--truly brilliant, and insane. When my family and I watch it we're practically rolling on the floor laughing. Be sure to check it out.

Dick Martin spent his later years as a game-show host and then a sitcom director (including lots of work with Bob Newhart).

Check out a couple tributes to Dick Martin on YouTube: "Say Goodnight, Dick", and "Sock It To Me".

(End credits with the Monkee's special guests, and the joke wall!)

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