THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS BIOGRAPHY
It was five decades ago that Tom and
Dick Smothers first took stage together professionally. Comedy was about to
Many comedy duos, have had success but none as enduring as the Smothers
Brothers whose lengthy career has surpassed all other comedy teams in
history. Their cutting-edge humor has not only been ahead of its time but
has remained timeless as well.
With their singular blend of comedic and musical talents, the irrepressible
brothers have made a sweeping impact on diverse generations of fans. Such
lasting power is a testimonial to their intuitive humor, natural warmth,
superlative showmanship and the pure unadulterated joy they bring to
audiences of all ages.
Tom and Dick’s first professional appearance as the Smothers Brothers was at
the Purple Onion in San Francisco in February, 1959. Their first national
television appearance was on “The Jack Paar Show” on January 28, 1961
following which they guested countless times with Johnny Carson and on the
variety shows of the era. In the early 60’s they also recorded the first of
twelve top-selling albums.
But it was February of 1967 that was a defining moment in their career. The
#1 show on TV was the long-running series “Bonanza.” Many shows had fallen
in its wake. CBS-TV decided to schedule “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”
against the western never suspecting that it would soon unseat “Bonanza”
from its lofty perch. According to Wikipedia “it started out as only a
slightly ‘hip’ version of the typical comedy-variety show of its era, but
rapidly evolved into a show that extended the boundaries of what was
considered permissible in television satire.” The irreverent show featured
many writers and series regulars who went on to successful comedy careers
including Steve Martin. The show also presented the top musical acts of the
day, many of whom were shunned elsewhere on TV due to the nature of their
music, including The Doors, Joan Baez, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson
Airplane, Pete Seeger and a stunning performance by The Who which climaxed
with the literal explosion of their drums.
“The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” had become as controversial and
influential as it was popular, satirizing politics, racism and the unpopular
Vietnam War among other topics. Despite the show’s success, in April of
1969, the Smothers Brothers were fired by the CBS Television Network.
“Smothered,” a film by award-winning director, Maureen Muldaur, documents
the Brother’s struggle against censorship and, as a lawsuit later
determined, the wrongful firing by CBS.
Although Tom was integrally involved with the writing of “The Smothers
Brothers Comedy Hour,” when it came time to submit the names of the writers
for Emmy consideration in 1968, he refused to include his name for fear that
he had become too controversial and it would hurt the show’s chances of
winning. The show did win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in
Comedy Variety that year. It took 40 years but in September, 2008, during
the live television broadcast of the 60th Annual Emmy Awards, Steve Martin
presented Tom with an Emmy acknowledging his contributions as a writer on
“The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in 1968.
Time life has released “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best Season
3,” as a four-DVD boxes set. This is the first DVD set released of shows
from the popular series and features 11 uncensored star-packed episodes from
the third and final season including appearances by The Doors, Bob Newhart,
Ike & Tina Turner, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Harry Belafonte, George
Carlin, Jackie Mason, Jonathan Winters and many others. The set also
features rare, informative, historically important bonus features,
interviews and censored material. The first and second season DVD’s will be
In the 70’s and 80’s the Smothers Brothers returned to TV with new primetime
comedy series and specials. They continue to perform for sold-out audiences
in Las Vegas as well as concert halls through the U.S. Their continuous
coast-to-coast concert tours often include performances with symphony
orchestras. The ever-popular YoYo Man (Tom) and the Voice of Yo (Dick)
travel and appear with the Smothers Brothers in concert.
The contributions Tom and Dick have made to the entertainment world
throughout their careers were so highly respected that the Museum of
Television and Radio produced a retrospective and seminar on their work, an
honor not lightly accorded. They have also been honored with a star on the
historic Hollywood Walk of Fame and been inducted into the illustrious
Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2003 they were presented with the George
Carlin Freedom of Expression Award from the Video Software Dealers’
Association recognizing their “extraordinary comic gifts and their unfailing
support of the First Amendment.” Later that year, they also received
Honorary Doctorate Degrees from their alma mater, San Jose State University.
In 2008, The Boston Comedy Festival bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on
On the personal side, both Tom and Dick pursue their interests with the same
fervor as their work. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, Dick can be
found cycling or practicing yoga. Even on the road, he maintains a
disciplined regimen of robust workouts at the nearest health club. Equally
at home in the kitchen, Dick is known to conjure up delicious heart healthy
Tom’s pastime passion is for golf. Ever inventive, he decided the game
needed an added feature: the yo-yo. Tom is the only golfer known who can
sink a putt with the popular toy. Tom also enjoys tending to his vineyard
and his award-winning winery, Remick Ridge Vineyards.
Tom and Dick were born in New York City, graduated form Redondo Union High
School in Southern California, and attended San Jose State University. Tom
was a gymnast and Dick on the track team.
Tom’s wife is the former Marcy Carriker and they have two children, Bo and
Riley Rose. Tom also has a son, Tom Jr.
Dick is the father of six children – Susan, Dick Jr., Steven, Andrew, Sarah,
The Smothers Brothers have been described as comedic treasures, comic
geniuses, rare, original and peerless. Time has been an essential ingredient
in their success. They have been considered ahead of their time, masters of
timing and practitioners of timeless comedy. Justifiably, time has provided
another term…An American Classic.