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Dave Barry ...
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Jack Durant ...
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Moe
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Willard Waterman ...
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unsold tv series pilot | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Talk-Show

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Release Date:

July 1962 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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It Seemed Like a Good Idea
28 February 2013 | by (California) – See all my reviews

"Strictly For Laughs" (which can be found on the Net if one looks hard enough) was an unsold TV pilot in which a lot of aging comedians and/or comic actors sit around and tell each other jokes. It looks as though the idea was to create a kind of cross between Hefner's "Playboy's Penthouse" and Mike Stokey's "Stump the Stars." The result, however, is very, very strange. Not unentertaining, just...strange. The assembled comics are a disparate bunch, with the best known probably Rose Marie and Mel Blanc. Least known is likely Jack Durant, who in the 1930s had been part of the acrobatic comedy team Mitchell and Durant, widely regarded as the worst comedy team ever. The reason to watch it today is to see Moe Howard, of the Three Stooges, in stand-up mode, and he acquits himself quite well. Blanc is also funny, telling a joke in Porky Pig-ese. But while the comics--four at a time--are seated around a table, there are plants in the background who try to laugh uproariously at everything that is said, and the laughter begins to sound forced. What makes the show truly strange, though, is that the assembly of comedians, from host Dave Barry (not the humorist) on down, look more like gangsters than gagsters. This is one sober, stern, dour-looking bunch of joke-tellers, who exhibit very little looseness or chemistry between one another. Instead the effect is more like a meeting of crime families with punchlines. Barry in particular is charmless and rather intimidating. Maybe the idea would have worked better with up-and-coming comics.


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