DAVID BIANCULLI

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STILL LAUGH-IN: THE STARS CELEBRATE
May 14, 2019  | By David Bianculli

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

 

SPECIAL PREMIERE: Original Roman & Martin’s Laugh-In cast members Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi and Jo Anne Worley appear in this new celebratory special, honoring the fast-paced comedy sketch series that was among TV’s most popular shows of the early 1970s. Historically, Laugh-In borrowed from the rapid-fire joke style and sight-gag setups of Ernie Kovacs’ brilliant specials of the 1950s, and the prime-time topical comedy of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. But by firing at all targets simultaneously across the political and social spectrum, it offended, and pleased, everyone pretty much equally. This special is a bit late – the actual 50th anniversary of the Laugh-In series was in 2017 – and, built around a live salute held at a Los Angeles theater, with lots of younger performers paying homage to Laugh-In alongside the few participating veterans, it’s not written or performed sharply enough. It’s nice Netflix is paying attention to older TV shows. I just wish, in this case, they’d done a better job, in terms of both the history and the comedy.

 
 
 
 
 
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