Smothers Brothers

Folk music and comedy duo The Smothers Brothers was one of the most popular folk acts of the 1960s thanks to the duo’s penchant for humorous onstage banter. Comprised of brothers Tommy ( born February 2, 1937, in New York City) and Dick Smothers (born November 20th, 1938, in New York City), the duo spent their formative years in Los Angeles, California after the death of their father during World War II. Initially members of a folk quartet in the late 1950s, they debuted a duo in San Francisco, California in February 1959. Tommy did not feel that they were good enough musicians, so they leaned towards the comedy angle of their act and became a popular live draw. The duo released their debut album, The Smothers Brothers at the Purple Onion, in 1961, which was followed by albums such as The Two Sides of the Smothers Brothers (1962), Think Ethnic! (1963), and their most popular release, Curb Your Tongue, Knave (1963). Tommy and Dick became popular fixtures on television, making appearances on variety shows and TV series while continuing to tour and release albums. Their act, which dabbled in controversial subjects like politics, became so popular that they were given their own variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which debuted in the winter of 1967. The show ran for two years and became one of the most talked-about shows on television thanks to the duo (and their writers) tackling many different political subjects that were normally considered taboo on television. The show was eventually cancelled in 1969 after 71 episodes, but eventually became one of the most influential TV shows of the decade. The Smothers Brothers continued to be a popular live draw and even returned to TV in a series of unsuccessful series. Both Tommy and Dick Smothers began to explore different avenues separately including making guest appearances on a variety of different TV shows. They would still perform together throughout the years, but their schedule was not as busy as their heyday in the 1960s. After more than 51 years, The Smothers Brothers played their final live show together on May 16, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Surprisingly, in September 2022, the duo announced that they would be touring again the following year. However, the tour was cancelled when Tommy Smothers was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2023. He died on December 26, 2023, at the age of 86.

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