“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”

Season Two

Amos Lassen

“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” was an American television program that ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973 on the NBC television network. The hosts were comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The title of the show was a play on the ”love-ins” and “be-ins” of the 1960s hippie culture. The humor of “Laugh In” came from vaudeville and burlesque but it also added satire and the show consisted of gags and sketches, many of which used sexual innuendos and politics.

At various times the show featured announcer Gary  Owens, Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Richard Pryor, Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Jo Anne Worley, Henry Gibson, Alan Sues, Lily Tomlin, Teresa Graves, Larry Hovis, Chelsea Brown, Sarah Kennedy, Jeremy Lloyd, Dave Madden, Pigmeat Markham, Pamela Rodgers, Jud Strunk, Richard Dawson, Moosie Drier, Barbara Sharma, and Johnny Brown.

During season two, each episode followed a somewhat similar format, often including recurring sketches. The show started with a short dialogue between Rowan and Martin. Shortly afterward, Rowan would intone: “C’mon Dick, let’s go to the party”. This was made up of all cast members and occasional surprise celebrities dancing before a 1960s party backdrop as they delivered one- and two-line jokes interspersed with a few bars of dance music. The show then proceeded through rapid-fire comedy bits, taped segments, and recurring sketches.

At the end of every show, Rowan turned to his co-host and said, “Say good night, Dick”, to which Martin replied, “Good night, Dick!”. The show then featured cast members’ opening panels in a “joke wall” and telling jokes. As the show drew to a close and the applause died, executive producer George Schlatter’s clapping alone and it continued even as the screen turned blank. The arrangement of the segments was often interchanged. The second season had a handful of new people, including Alan Sues, Dave Madden, and Chelsea Brown. “Laugh In” was once of the guilty pleasures of my youth.

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