Making Comedy With a Point
By Craig Tomashoff
Sure, catchphrases like “Here comes the judge!” and “Sock it to me!” and such characters as Ernestine the telephone operator and dirty old man Tyrone F. Horneigh made “Rowan & Martin’s LaughIn” a part of TV history. However, we might never have heard of any of them were it not for the Grammy Awards. Or, more accurately, the lack of a Grammy Awards.
“The show was an accident. NBC never meant to buy it,” says “Laugh-In” creator executive producer George Schlatter. “I’d been working on an NBC show called ‘Best on Record,’ which was an earlier version of the Grammy Awards but before they could afford to actually pay for the awards. They’d asked me to keep doing it, but I said I would only if I could do one show my way with no interference or rules. They said yes without really meaning it. And that’s what became ‘Laugh-In.’ ”
Click here to read the full article in the LA Times.
“Still Laugh-In” Team Talks Politics of 50th Anniversary Special
By Amber Dowling
When “Laugh-In” debuted on NBC in 1967, creator George Schlatter could have very well gotten away with murder. The network didn’t often understand what the producer was trying to accomplish with his quick comedic snippets, his fresh-faced cast who often stumbled over their lines (which were sometimes purposely transposed on the teleprompter), or his ragtag group of oddball writers, which included a political science professor, a 16-year-old, and a young Lorne Michaels.
Click here to read the full article on Variety Online.
By George – Quotes from George Schlatter
On the occasion of George Schlatter receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree:
“I believe it’s good to learn from your mistakes… but don’t keep marrying the same one.”
(When Pepperdine honored me at the “Still Laugh-In A toast to George Schlatter) At that event Craig Detweiler introduced me and commented on the fact that in preparing for the evening they could find no record of me ever attending any classes… however… they did know that I’d played football.
“Evidently, I attended enough classes and played enough football to work off a scholarship and to be honored here today after only 60 short years. I thought I played better football than that!”
Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I did and often.
(On “Laugh-In”) We did a segment called the “News of the Future.”
We said, “20 years from now, Date Line – The Vatican… the Archbishop and his lovely bride… the former Sister Mary Catherine… both announced ‘This time it’s for keeps… if only for the sake of the children.”
That lit up all the phones in Beautiful Downtown Burbank. We went from “communication” to ex-communication.”
We also had arch conservative William Buckley on “Laugh-In”. We approached him because I really wanted us to maintain the political balance. Buckley turned us down saying, not only did he refuse to appear… but he resented having been asked.
I finally got him on the show when I promised to fly him to California on a plane with two right wings.
Me and My Emmy
Emmy Magazine, Issue No. 10, 2016