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Famous Comedy Duo Member Tom Smothers Passes Away At The Age Of 86.

According to a family statement made public by the National Comedy Center, comedian Tom Smothers, who performed with his brother as the singing comedy duo the Smothers Brothers, passed away.

He was eighty-six.

Tom’s younger brother and business partner, Dick Smothers, stated that his brother was home when he passed away from cancer.

Dick Smothers released a statement saying, “Tom was not only the loving older brother that everyone would want in their life, he was a one-of-a-kind creative partner.” “I will always be appreciative that we were able to live a lifetime together for more than 60 years, both on and off stage. The longer we were together, the more we loved and respected each other, just like in a healthy marriage. We really were.

With their sharply caustic comedy at the center of their CBS variety show “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” which lasted from 1967 to 1969, the folk-singing siblings became pioneers.

Famously, CBS pulled the show from the air because of the hosts’ political criticism, support of civil rights, and opposition to the Vietnam War.

In a 2019 interview published by “All Arts TV,” Tom Smothers commented, “Fifty years later I look back on us being fired and I’m still pissed off.”

Born in 1937—the same year as his brother Dick—the two Smothers grew up in California and started their acting careers after graduating from San Jose State University.

Tom Smothers claimed he and his sibling didn’t initially think of themselves as stand-up comedians in an interview with CBS News last year.

“We considered ourselves to be folk singers,” he clarified.

Their musical debut on TV led to the success of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

It was incredible, the biggest thrill ever!” CBS News was notified by Dick Smothers.

Network censors of the time were challenged by their blend of music, sketches, and political parodies, with Dick portraying the straight man and Tom playing the clumsy guitarist brother.

Though the brothers took freedom of speech very seriously, they often joked about the backlash they received for being so open during their comedy hour.

Tom Smothers once stated on their program, “I think it goes against the principles of our country and the principle that makes the world go round, to allow us to not even give our viewpoints to other people who are interested in hearing it.”

Dick Smothers stated, “The Sixties were changing so quickly and we didn’t change them,” when making an appearance on CNN’s documentary series “The Sixties.”

“We simply mirror them,” his sibling continued.

Many in the industry were greatly influenced by their brand of humor, some of whom went on to become well-known figures.

A UC Santa Barbara Library page on maintaining their musical and humorous heritage lists Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels, Rob Reiner, and David Steiner as early writers on their program.

The brothers were victorious in their lawsuit against the network to prove they were not in violation of their contract after CBS President and Chief Executive Officer William Paley terminated their show, alleging their inability to meet delivery dates for their episode. But the show never went back on the air.

The author of “Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,‘” David Bianculli, stated in a 2010 interview with CNN that although the show was controversial at the time, it was actually rather moderate in retrospect considering the family-friendly atmosphere of the time.

Bianculli stated, “There was nothing serious on TV during prime time.” In an entertainment variety show, the Smothers Brothers attempted to discuss various topics such as the war, the policies of the president, drugs, sex, and rock and roll. For a younger age, it was just the sole source of knowledge of that kind.

Tom Smothers “was the one who fought most of the battles,” according to Bianculli, who backed this claim in “The Sixties.”

Dick Smothers remembered, “They said that the social subjects we touched on were not appropriate for the nine o’clock family viewing hour.” “They found any justification to make things difficult.

Tom Smothers continued, “And I came up with any excuse to push it.

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