“This is a superb, at times moving, portrait of an entire age – seen through the dramatic careers of two endlessly interesting entertainers.” -- Ken Burns, Filmmaker
ADVANCE ACCLAIM FOR "DANGEROUSLY FUNNY"
"It is hard for many of us to remember - back when there were only a handful of stations on the dial - just how profoundly influential and controversial the Smothers Brothers were.
"But David Bianculli's brilliant new book has brought it all back to vivid life: the fun and drop-dead-funny songs and routines, the growing political consciousness of the era, these two relatively conservative looking men, and the great firestorm that blew up around their principled stand.
"This is a superb, at times moving, portrait of an entire age - seen through the dramatic careers of two endlessly interesting entertainers."
-- Ken Burns, Filmmaker
"David Bianculli details the Smothers Brothers' challenging of the CBS censors and the politicians of the 60s, and gets it exactly right. The Smothers Brothers deserve to be placed alongside Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and other rebellious comedy spirits who were willing to risk everything for what they believed.
"Compelling from start to finish. A book to cherish."
-- David Steinberg
"This book is a first class job of reporting the icebergian facts. The tip of the iceberg (the show itself), the mass of corporate and government intrigue/maneuvering underneath (CBS and Washington), the eventual meltdown (firing/cancellation) that gave rise to the freshet of freedom that flowed into the sea of change that is TV today.
"The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was one of the first mainstream vehicles for the cultural expressions of the late sixties. In retrospect, I think one of the things that made the show unique was that it allowed the 'counterculture' to flow through it, like beams of light through a prism, the TV reflecting out these new ideas, a refraction of the times. CBS and TV in general didn't want to acknowledge the changing times and the cultural revolution, but the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour not only acknowledged it, we embraced it. The censorship issue was a byproduct of that."
"David's book documents a true prime-time crime caper pulled off forty years ago. The perpetrators got away. The Smothers Brothers and the American viewing audience paid the price. As another old saying goes, 'Freedom is a dangerous way of life.' It was ours - and thanks to David, this is our story.
-- Mason Williams
MASON'S ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS, PROVIDED JUST FOR THIS WEBSITE:
"The content of the show; the music, comedy and satire, are and will become increasingly dated. This is to be expected. We were of our time, and as the old saying goes, 'He who marries the spirit of the age, soon becomes a widower.' What will resonate for future generations is our part in the ever, ongoing battle against censorship.
"Since a democracy is the presupposed idea that the people can think and speak for themselves, it's therefore a crime against democracy to lower the people's ability to think and speak for themselves. The show wanted to encourage people to think for themselves as opposed to TV's promulgation of brainwashed, mass-consumerism as a lifestyle."
-- Mason Williams 24 August 2009