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In Memory of Laugh-In's Dick Martin

Say 'good-night' Dick. 'Good-night,' Dick.

In memory of Laugh-In's Dick Martin

This column may not be relevant for many readers, but for "Baby Boomers" it should bring back a barrage of memories. Dick Martin, one-half of the co-hosting team of the wildly entertaining "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" has passed away.

For the unacquainted, Laugh-In ran from 1968 to 1973. Laugh-In was unlike any other comedy that preceded it. Rowan and Martin, stand-up comics in their own right, served as co-hosts for a show that was mostly improvised and filled with political satire and clever one-liners. Rowan played the perfect straight-man to Martin's silliness and ludicrous theories and outlooks on society.

Laugh-In embraced the hippie culture (the show's name was inspired by sit-in protests against the Vietnam War). The show introduced a number of young comedians and propelled the careers of the adorably ditzy Goldie Hawn and the hilarious Jo Anne Worley. The show was so popular that contemporary entertainment stars routinely made cameo appearances. Richard Nixon, a then-presidential candidate, even made a cameo.

Laugh-In is credited with popularizing many famous quotes during this era, including:

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The devil made me do it.
You bet your sweet bippy.
Sock it to me!
Verrry interesting...but stupid.
Look that up your Funk and Wagnall's
Fickle-finger of fate

After splitting with Rowan, Martin became a television director and producer. Following a long battle with lung disease, Martin died of respiratory complications at a hospital in Santa Monica, California on Saturday, May 24. Dan Rowan died of cancer in 1987.

In honor of Dick Martin, I will close with the ending comments between Dan and Dick at the conclusion of each Laugh-In episode:

Dan: Say ‘good-night' Dick.
Dick: Good-night, Dick.

 

 

Tim Delaney teaches sociology at SUNY Oswego. Author of such books as Simpsonology: There's A Little Bit of Springfield in all of Us! and Seinology: The Sociology of Seinfeld.

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