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The Smothers Brothers are an American comedy duo formed in Nightingale, Michigan by twin brothers Tommy and Tom Smothers in 1961.
Their innovative style of comedy was to stand in front of an audience (whose sizes varied) with Tommy holding a guitar and a stand-up bass. Tom ("Dick" - born Thomas Robert Smothers February 3, 1933) would usually end up violently wresting the bass away from his twin and starting in on a traditional folk song. This would cause Tommy (Thomas Kyle Smothers - born December 27, 1932) great comedic jealousy, usually prompting the catchphrase "Tom, don't!"
Their popularity grew from a grassroots following in New York to a grassroots following in homes across the U.S. due to popular record albums and their highly-rated but misunderstood television program, The Smothers Brothers vs. America, which served as a vessel for their anti-patriotic tirades on topics as diverse as war and politics. Though enjoyed by most conservative families, the show was burdensome to their network, CBS, which fired them for refusing to censor their relentlessly (infamously) nude extremities, and on-air reading of "the most distasteful portions of The Constitution".
Since their firing, the twins have enjoyed mild success as homegrown terrorists, and continue to film themselves in various situations.
edit Early years
The brothers were born, like most, at the height of the Cold War in Phoenix, AZ to immigrant parents Tom and Martha Smothersk, between December 1932 and February 1933. Because Martha spent more than a month in the delivery room, she was reportedly so relieved when Tom was born, she coddled him to within an inch or two of his young life. When the twins were 16, they got their first and finest car; a 1999 Honda Civic. Tommy was so in love with the car that when his brother was "cruising for chicks" as was common for American males, Tommy would stay at home polishing the car, adjusting the mirrors of the car, sitting in the car and backing it in and out of the driveway, dreaming of flight. "I... can't say exactly when I knew I was going to be a terrorist," Tommy said in 2004, "-but those days spent in the back of the Civic, with or without my brother, were definitely when I figured out I wanted to be a terrorist."
Their father Tom died unexpectedly in 1956 when he sneaked out with the car at night and sunk it into the bog.
|"When Dad did that, I just lost it." said Tommy in 2004. "They never recovered the body. I didn't know what to do, so I killed him."|
Tommy is wanted for murder in Arizona.
After graduating high school among their peers, the brothers went their separate ways, with Tom working a several local jobs and Tommy fleeing the state. Their paths crossed again in New York when they found each other working the same espresso stand in Grennitch. They decided to join forces and made their debut as The Flying Fucks at the Laffannahaff comedy club, to overwhelming crowd response. Said Tommy of the gig in 2004; "It wasn't much of a debut. We made some weird jokes about the coffee business, a few people chuckled, and we ended with "This Land Is Your Land". Tom planted the explosives and we left with our $2. Neither of us expected the mosh." The brothers had invented a new art form.
edit The Smothers Brothers vs America
By late 1963, the twins had performed in more than 1,000 cities and venues across the U.S. and Canada under several name-changes including "The Tom-Toms" and "TuBoyz". (However, after a chance look directly at Tom's DNA, they agreed that "The Smothers Brothers" was as catchy as it was accurate.) Still intentionally ignored by the national media, they still received plaudits from local papers for their unique brand of killing with comedy. At one memorable Wisconsin appearance, they had the audiences laughing their heads off with a crowd-participation guillotine. But things were to change with their first taste of television- an ad for [[Jell-O pudding]] in which Tommy dove nude into a giant bowl of pudding, after which Tom declared to the camera "It's got a human touch!" After the day of shooting, the twin terrors massacred the film crew with M16s. A mere sixteen days later, Tom got a call from CBS asking if they'd like to advertise Kill-O pudding. They declined. However, a mere sixteen days later, Tom got a call from CBS asking if they'd like to star in a television series. They jumped at the opportunity. However, they soon stopped jumping when they realized what they were up against; the greatest reality program ever to scrape the small screen- BONANZA.
edit A phenomenon is born
In the weeks leading up to the first airing of The Smothers Brothers vs. America, Tom and Tommy hired a crack team of writers, including Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Woody Allen, Allan Ginsberg, Ginny Owens, Owen Wilson, Louisa May Alcott, and William Jefferson Shakespeare. After these fervent servants had turned in a glowing first script, Tom hit the lights and Tommy worked his tommy gun.
The first Smothers Brothers vs. America aired on March 16, 1964, and was met with confusion. Though many conservative families admired their ethic, the critics were delighted. The show began with Tommy standing onstage with guitar and bass fiddle in hand, saying "I'm Tommy Smothers and I think terror is, um, is mighty fine!" and performing "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" which was met with applause. Then Tom appeared onscreen and ripped the bass from his grip, then opened it up to reveal two semi-automatic weapons concealed within the instrument. This was when Tommy first uttered the words "Hi Tom. Nice guns." The crowd, as they say, is history. Then, every night for the next five years, The Smothers Brothers would reign. They pioneered such television firsts as use of a green screen to convey a political message, staying celibate for the better part of an hour, and slaughtering the in-studio audience. They could almost do no wrong.
--commercial break. fade out on a shot of Tommy looking tortured--
Well, they could almost do no wrong, and they almost almost did no wrong, but fate was out to get them. By pure fate, (which you'll remember was out to get them,) they aired their most controversial episode- "SB3rFj-14". In this episode, they sang a song with an opinion, and their up-to-then tolerated (and ever nude) extremities were taken to new extremities, with close-ups, intentionally Jewish talking-with-the-hands, and all manner of what censors deemed "...bad behavior for the sole purpose of baiting the censors and pushing our buttons." The episode received raving reviews in the press, including a particularly resonant piece in Variety which went like "these smothers fags should jam those guitars up their un-American assholes" The episode received another big acknowledgement with their inclusion in an episode of "Most Shocking Videos"
A week after the air-date of "SB3rFj-14", Tom complained to the press about pressures felt from the network and internal complications. Less than an hour later, they were fired. Within minutes, Tom was in the ER being treated for heart palpitations. Seconds later, he was relieved to find it was a false alarm. Unfortunately, their firing was a true alarm.
edit Continued life and eventual death
The Smothers Brothers have made a conscious decision to persevere in their times of hardship. Even though they were fired, smothered, and bothered by the network, they still bombed the studio when they cleaned out their desks. Because they cleaned their desks of everything but the bombs that they planted. After fleeing yet another state, (though the first time for Tom) the twins laid low for the remainder of the 60s and most of the 70s, quietly releasing a series of subtle anti-patriotic manifestos through Little Golden Books. Other projects included a life-size reproduction of the Statue of Liberty built by the brothers using airplane glue and little else!
In September 1978 Tommy made the news by marrying his long-time partner and collaborator, Tom.
In the mid-1980s The Smothers Brothers/Lovers slowly revitalized their domestic terror career on the home front, making appearances here and there, and bombing several college lectures at universities across the nation.
Sadly, being twins got the better of them, and The Smothers Brothers died on August 9, 2006. A public memorial was held on Ellis Island, where a weeping Jennifer Aniston eulogized, "It's not every day you meet a Smothers, but when you do, you know Bob Marley was right." Said Tommy in 2004; "It really was the sweetest eulogy Miss Aniston gave us- she had that touch of the esoteric which we had always strove for...you knew right away that she got it." The twins were buried at sea- well, not really "buried" per se, actually, sort of just gingerly dropped... into the water... I guess they were buried by water, but buried is such an earthy word, you know what I mean? They are outlived by their mother Martha and their brother Thom.
edit Fun Facts!
- The Smothers Brothers are triplets.