Airdate: Make ‘Em Laugh

morkWe’re lucky the ABC and SBS don’t take much notice of non-ratings, and the summer period will surely have some unique offerings from the public broadcasters.

One is a look at Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business Of America, a 3 part 2009 series that will feature some of the comedy greats.

From the pratfalls that entertained immigrants in the early 1900s to the most biting satire on television today, Make ’Em Laugh features the funniest moments in American entertainment, including the great comedic talents, including Charlie Chaplin, Jack Benny, Abbott & Costello, The Three Stooges, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and many more.

While America, a country of immigrants, has always championed the idea of inclusiveness, the outsider has been a source of constant amusement. Perhaps best epitomised today by characters in such blockbuster Judd Apatow comedies as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad.

This episode also looks back at the bespectacled wannabe (Harold Lloyd) and the vain coward (Bob Hope) as the outsiders of their day. There are also pioneering women in comedy like Phyllis Diller and truly zany characters who seem to have arrived from another planet (Jonathan Winters, Andy Kaufman and Robin Williams). The great social upheaval of the 60s and 70s also introduced counter-culture favourites Cheech & Chong, as well as superstar nerds like Woody Allen and ‘jerks’ like Steve Martin – who ultimately became so popular that the idea of the outsider had to be re-cast.

It begins 9:35pm Monday November 30th on ABC1.

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