NPR logo

'Laugh-In's Dick Martin, TV Comedy Pioneer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90824302/90824260" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Laugh-In's Dick Martin, TV Comedy Pioneer

Remembrances

'Laugh-In's Dick Martin, TV Comedy Pioneer

'Laugh-In's Dick Martin, TV Comedy Pioneer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90824302/90824260" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Dick Martin, co-host of Rowan and Martin's Laugh In, a TV comedy staple of the 1960s, died Saturday. Zany, frenetic, and daring in its references to sex and drugs, Laugh-In challenged the more tame TV sitcoms of the era with a fast-paced sketches, monologues and catch phrases, like "sock it to me."

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Our last word in business is "Laugh-In."

The 1960s television program changed the business of television comedy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW "LAUGH-IN")

DICK MARTIN: Sock it to me. Sock it to me.

Sock it to me became a national catch-phrase thanks to Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In." Over the weekend, Dick Martin died at a hospital in Santa Monica. He was 86. But he left behind plenty of episodes.

Zany, frenetic and daring its references to sex and drugs, "Laugh-In" challenged the more tame TV sit-coms of the era with fast-paced sketches, monologues and set pieces. Think "Saturday Night Live" set in the 1960s and broadcast in prime time, filmed on a psychedelic set with a penchant for sight gags, go-go dancers and physical comedy.

"Laugh-In" helped to launch the careers of Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin and Tiny Tim.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LAUGH-IN")

TINY TIM: (Singing) Oh, tiptoe through the window, by the window that is where I'll be.

One of its early writers - Lorne Michaels- went on to create "Saturday Night Live."

The next time you see a politician trying to win points on a late night comedy show you can say Richard Nixon tried that first on "Laugh-In."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LAUGH-IN")

RICHARD NIXON: Sock it to me.

MONTAGNE: Whoa. This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

ROBERT SMITH, Host:

And I'm Robert Smith.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.