Retro Recommendations: Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In

Today we focus on the classic sketch comedy series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, which ran for six seasons from 1968 to 1973. Hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, the series was a play on hippie era culture and had its roots in vaudeville and burlesque.

Usually the episode starts out like this: there's a short dialogue between Rowan and Martin. Shortly afterward, Rowan intones: "C'mon Dick, let's go to the party". The segment comprises all cast members and occasional surprise celebrities dancing before a 1960s "mod" party backdrop, delivering one-and two-line jokes interspersed with a few bars of dance music. The show then proceeds through rapid-fire comedy bits, taped segments, and recurring sketches. At the end of every show, Rowan turns to his co-host and said, "Say good night, Dick", to which Martin replies, "Good night, Dick!". The show then featured cast members' opening panels in a psychedelically painted "joke wall" and telling jokes. As the show drew to a close and the applause died, executive producer George Schlatter's solitary clapping continued even as the screen turns blank and the production logo, network chimes, and NBC logo appears.

Often the show features guest stars. Lily Tomlin got her start on Laugh-In, and Goldie Hawn was also a regular on the show. 

Laugh-In's producers produced Turn On, one of the biggest flops of all time. The show was canceled after one episode. Another short lived spin off was Letters to Laugh In, which ran on daytime television for only a few months in 1969. 

One thing's to show you, Laugh-In's magic couldn't be struck twice. You can see the show on Decades, a CBS owned television channel dedicated to classic shows. 

And that does it for Retro Recommendations! Let us know in the comments below! 

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