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Dan

Worcester, MA, United States | Member Since 2007

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  • Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour'

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By David Bianculli
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (61)

    Decades before The Daily Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour proved there was a place on television for no-holds-barred political comedy with a decidedly antiauthoritarian point of view. In this explosive, revealing history of the show, veteran entertainment journalist David Bianculli tells the fascinating story of its three-year network run---and the cultural impact that's still being felt today.

    Tim says: "Fascinating Read!"
    "Good story, but just not significant enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The big question with this book has to be: is it really worth my time to listen to a book about a fight over a television show from 45 years ago?

    Well, Bianculli makes a valiant effort to argue that the answer should be yes, and the truth is I found this story remarkably interesting. There are deep questions here about the role of speech and censorship and media and national political divisions and youth culture, and drugs and all of that, and I'm amazed at how much this story comes off as an archetypal story of rebellious free spirits fighting for their freedom of expression against a tyrannical corporate and political structure trying to restrain them. Certainly that's how Tom Smothers saw things. Somehow "freedom" has become a watchword of the right; this book helps remind us that it's properly the province of the left.

    That being said, it's still the inside story of a fight over what to put on television 45 years ago, and I can't help but think that it was not worth my time. Moreover to round out the book, there's a fair amount of filler on things like the Smothers' early career, earlier battles over television censorship by Jack Parr and others, and the Smothers' influence on later comedians. Honestly, I think this could have been a really good magazine article. But it's not a great audiobook.

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