Make ‘Em Laugh : The Funny Business of America
Episodes 1 Would Ya Hit a Guy with Glasses?
Directed by Michael Kantor
Written by Michael Kantor and Laurence Maslon
PBS January 14th 2009, 8 P.M.

Make ‘Em Laugh – The Funny Business of America reveals the funny business of America is not deals made on Wall Street but comedy. This 6 part series broadcast January 14th, 21st, and 28th at 8 and 9 P.M. on PBS is something no fan of comedy, stand-up comics, sitcoms, etc. should miss. Make ‘Em Laugh is to comedy what Ken Burns’ Baseball is to Ken Burns.

The series features a who’s alive and who’s not of comics and comedy business people. Episode one of this series is Would Ya Hit a Guy with Glasses: Nerds, Jerks, & Oddballs. The show opens with Judd Appatow before getting serious and presenting the greatest special comedians: Harold Lloyd, Bob Hope, the great Jonathan Winters with some really rare footage, and a very brief look at Jean Carroll, Phyllis Diller, and Joan Rivers.

Woody Allen’s important contribution to stand-up comedy is well noted with, again, rare footage stand-up comedy fans will gefiltafish. The first Make ‘Em Laugh episode also covers Cheech and Chong, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, and a too short clip of Lord Buckley.

Just about anybody who is somebody in comedy pops in for a bit of a comment on comedy. The strength of this PBS comedy series is nobody gets in the way of the funny.

Other Make ‘Em Laugh episodes will be Honey, I’m Home!: Breadwinners and Homemakers about the family situation comedy. Slip on a Banana Peel:  The Knockabouts  is about slapstick and comedy teams.

Episode 4 is When I’m Bad, I’m Better: The Groundbreakers on edgy stand-up comedy and comics like Moms Mabley, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Carlin. Show number 5 is Never Give a Sucker an Even Break: The Wiseguys.  This show will focus on the con men, wise guys, comedy characters.

The last show in the Make ‘Em Laugh series is titled “Sock It To Me” Satire and Parody. It covers Saturday Night Live (hopefully forgetting the many godawful years), Carson, Jon Stewart, Colbert, and Will Rogers.

This 6 part show is an absolute must for anyone who likes a good laugh and understands the importance of comedy.

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