True, this show was in its heyday back in the late'60s when Woodstock, go-go girls, flared jeans and peace and love were all the rage (not to mention Goldie Hawn, Alan Sues and Dave Madden). So was it a good idea to bring it back in the late '70s?
Well...yes and no.
First off, I remember quite vividly the comics (especially the irrepressible Williams in his first big TV gig before "Mork and Mindy") trying their darndest to pull off the same kind of vaudeville/topical mayhem they rattled off with ease way back when. Sometimes it was effective (the "Hallelujah Chorus" sung as "Sex and Violence, Sex and Violence..."), other times, not (a movie reviewer aping Sues' sports report routine, only giving kisses instead of "tinkles").
I still remember Williams, though, changing dialect and running amok, especially dressed as a hick and shaking Frank Sinatra's hand while shouting in ecstacy behind him, "Sell mah clothes, Melba, I've gone to Heaven!"
Then, there was the frantic, antic work of lesser-known wacko Lenny Schultz. I know, a lot of you haven't heard of him but he's just someone who was as crazy as Robin, just not as well managed. And Lenny...well, he's not someone who could be described very well. He's an experience unto himself.
This being said, all that was left were the occasional guest stars who would pop in from time to time, do a couple of cameos, then leave. But they just didn't get as much of a chance to do much comic mischief as the guest stars in this show's original incarnation. And there were none of the newer material that could match "here comes da judge" or Henry Gibson's poetry or even Arte Johnson and Ruth Buzzi as the old man and woman on the park bench or....
You get the idea. Great as a showcase for Williams and even Schultz, but as a new evolution of the old "Laugh-In", not so great.
Four stars for the effort and for Williams' ever-glowing efforts. But it's not the same without Rowan and Martin.
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