Did you have any idea that the head writer of Laugh In was a hardcore conservative who regularly took calls from Nixon? I didn’t! The Comedy Writer That Helped Elect Richard M. Nixon is an in-depth look at the show and how it change the politics of the 70s:
“Laugh-In is commonly considered a reflection of the late sixties youth sensibility, but closer examination reveals a much different picture. It was, in essence, an establishment show, profiting from the anti-establishment sentiment running through America. Moderated by the comedy team of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Laugh-In was old in style, but draped in the popular fashion of the day. It effectively garnered a genuine hippie aesthetic, but any actual connection to the counterculture was mostly smoke and mirrors. The bulk of Laugh-In consisted of irrelevant vaudeville bits that ignored the war, the draft, the riots and the protest. It embraced the look and sound of the hippies and had no problem making references to getting high, but when it came to the major issues, it lacked substance. Whereas Tom Smothers found himself on Nixon’s enemies list, Rowan and Martin found themselves on Nixon’s guest list.”
The whole thing is fascinating and worth reading if you’re interested in politics, history and comedy.