'Laugh-In's Catchphrase Comedy Socked It To The '60s

By | October 10, 2017

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Jo Anne Worley of 'Laugh-In' -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

With all the weird and wonderful things happening in the late'60s, America needed a new kind of comedy to help us figure it out. That show was Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In a catchphrase-riddled hour of sketch comedy, one-liners and sight gags that mixed silliness with mild social or political commentary. The show took its name from the '60s phenomena of sit-ins and love-ins, and its hip characters in outrageous costumes or body paint delivered lines that are still with us, including "Sock it to me," "Look it up in your Funk & Wagnall's," "You bet your sweet bippy," "Very interesting," "Here come da judge," and many more.

Laugh-In aired on NBC from 1968-1973. The show first aired as a television special in 1967 but was such a huge hit that it turned into a regular series. Although the show mimicked the old vaudeville and burlesque humor, is spawned from the crazy humor of Chic Johnson and Ole Olsen. The show’s hosts were Dan Rowan and Dick Martin; Rowan being portrayed as the smarter of the two and Martin as the dumb one. Their sensational comedic ability and undeniable chemistry absolutely made the show the hit that it was; although the show boasted a stellar cast!

The Joke Wall

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Each week, Laugh-In opened with Rowan and Martin engaged in a short, funny, back and forth dialog, after which, Rowan would say, “Come on, Dick, let’s go to the party.” And, a party it was! Laugh-In followed basically the same format each week, depicting recurring sketches with hysterical characters and rapid-fire jokes with a go-go themed dance party as the backdrop. Also included in the show was the infamous joke wall where characters would pop in and out of little doors with one and two-line jokes; some of which were sexually suggestive or politically charged. It was definitely a sign that the time were changing!