Tom Smothers

Performer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

Tom Smothers and Dick Smothers were interviewed for nearly three hours in Las Vegas, NV. They each individually chronicled their early years and influences and were then interviewed together regarding their work as the "Smothers Brothers."  "We gave ourselves six months to make it or we were going back to San Jose State and finish our education," Tom remarks. "And the six months have gone on to this point in time, 42 years." They spoke about their first network series, the short-lived situation comedy The Smothers Brothers Show. They spoke in detail about The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the controversy surrounding the series' topical material, that led to its cancellation by CBS in 1969. The two described the series' comedy sketches, guest stars who appeared, and the tempestuous era in which it ran. They also talked about their resurgence as performers and the legacy of their comedy act. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on October 14, 2000.

"It was a pretty good comedy act, and that's all we were, except that we happened to meet at the scene of the accident and it elevated it above what we really are -- just performers and pretty good ones. That little scene of the accident elevated us, and we handled ourselves well in that environment of confrontation, and maintained our integrity. That's a sweet little thing."

Highlights
Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of Tom's "mom always liked you best" catchphrase
01:18
Tom and Dick Smothers on the difficulties and their subsequent firing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
23:22
Tom and Dick Smothers on the changing social and political views in the sixties as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came on the air
02:14
Tom Smothers on the formation of The Smothers Brothers
03:45
The Smothers Brothers on their legacy
01:08
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Full solo interview with Tom Smothers
Tom Smothers on his early life and strong interest in music
Tom Smothers on the formation of The Smothers Brothers
Tom Smothers on first seeing TV; on his "slow" character; on his early fame; and his life outside of performing
Tom Smothers on his brother Dick Smothers

Chapter 2

[START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH DICK SMOTHERS] On their first professional job and the evolution of their comedy as part of their performance
On their first forays into television
On their sitcom The Smothers Brothers Show
On the development of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
On the changing social and political views in the sixties as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came on the air

Chapter 3

On the start of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour and the difficulties of producing a variety show
On some of the confrontations they had with CBS and unions regarding the material on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
On their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Chapter 4

On CBS' cancellation of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour for breach-of-contract
On some of their censored pieces on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour, including a guest-starring appearance by Harry Belafonte
On working with CBS executives; and their eventual firing and subsequent lawsuit
On their short-lived series The Smothers Brothers Show (1975) and the importance of creative control
On "Yo-Yo Man" sketches, The Tom and Dick Smothers Brothers Special, and some of the shows they were involved in after their television series went off the air

Chapter 5

On the collaborative nature of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
On their opinion on the power of television and their advice to future television professionals
On blacklisting and their hiring of Pete Seeger
On their then-current projects and lifestyles
On the legacy of the Smothers Brothers
Shows

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

View Show Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of Tom's "mom always liked you best" catchphrase
01:18
On the development of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:26
Tom and Dick Smothers on the changing social and political views in the sixties as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came on the air
02:14
Tom and Dick Smothers the start of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour and the difficulties of producing a variety show
04:56
Tom and Dick Smothers on some of the confrontations they had with CBS and unions regarding the material on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
05:45
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Tom and Dick Smothers on CBS' cancellation of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour for breach-of-contract
03:23
Tom and Dick Smothers on some censored portions of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:12
Tom and Dick Smothers on their relationship with the Johnson administration
02:35
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
04:03
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:13
Tom and Dick Smothers on the collaborative nature of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
02:25

Smothers Brothers Show, The

View Show Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their sitcom The Smothers Brothers Show
06:00
Tom and Dick Smothers on their short-lived Smothers Brothers Show
03:50

Steve Allen Show, The (1956-61)

View Show Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their early TV appearances
02:46

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

View Show Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their early TV appearances
02:46
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
On some of the confrontations they had with CBS and unions regarding the material on The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
05:45
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Tom and Dick Smothers on CBS' cancellation of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour for breach-of-contract
03:23
Tom and Dick Smothers on some censored portions of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:12
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:13
Tom and Dick Smothers on the free speech of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
02:09

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of Tom's "mom always liked you best" catchphrase
01:18

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
04:03

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on hiring blacklisted singer Pete Seeger
02:20

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on their relationship with the Johnson administration
02:35

Minorities

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37

Pop Culture

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on the changing social and political views in the sixties as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came on the air
02:14

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37

Studio and Network Management

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on their lawsuit following the firing of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:13

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on the origin of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour theme song
02:00

Vietnam War

View Topic
Tom and Dick Smothers on the changing social and political views in the sixties as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came on the air
02:14
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Professions

Performer

View Profession
Tom Smothers on the formation of The Smothers Brothers
03:45
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Tom and Dick Smothers on the changing social and political views in the sixties as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came on the air
02:14
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
04:03
Tom and Dick Smothers on how their comedy show transcended the variety format
02:25
People

Steve Allen

View Interview Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their early TV appearances
02:46

Joan Baez

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:21

Harry Belafonte

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on some censored portions of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
03:12

Glen Campbell

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37

Michael Dann

View Interview Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
04:03

Joe Hamilton

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their short-lived Smothers Brothers Show
03:50

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their relationship with the Johnson administration
02:35

Perry Lafferty

View Interview Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on the development of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:26
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37
Tom and Dick Smothers on the variety show genre and  working with CBS executives on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
04:03

Steve Martin

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on the development of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:26

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their early TV appearances
02:46

William S. Paley

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37

Pat Paulsen

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on the development of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:26
Tom and Dick Smothers on their dealings with CBS, their firing, and their thoughts about the larger political issues which may have contributed to the demise of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
17:37

Rob Reiner

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Tom and Dick Smothers on the development of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
08:26

Roseanne

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on Roseanne Barr's transition from stage to television work
00:52

Pete Seeger

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on hiring blacklisted singer Pete Seeger
02:20

Dick Smothers

View Interview Page
Tom Smothers on his brother Dick Smothers
04:37

Aaron Spelling

View Interview Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their sitcom The Smothers Brothers Show
06:00

David Steinberg

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on CBS' cancellation of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour for breach-of-contract
03:23

Danny Thomas

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on their sitcom The Smothers Brothers Show
06:00

Mason Williams

View Person Page
Tom and Dick Smothers on the start of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour and the difficulties of producing a variety show
04:56
Tom and Dick Smothers on their post-TV stage shows and "Yo-Yo Man" character
04:53
Tom and Dick Smothers on the collaborative nature of The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour
02:25

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