I’m saddened to hear of the death of Tommy Smothers at the age of 86. He and his brother Dick had what must have been one of the longest-lasting two-person acts in show business history.

As a longtime fan, I was thrilled to talk with Tommy on my radio show on March 23, 2007, to promote an upcoming show he and Dick would perform. I took my wife and daughter to see them, and we had a great time. He even welcomed us backstage afterwards to pose for a photo, which I have in a box somewhere in my basement.

Among the topics we discussed on the air:

  • how their act was really less about politics than about the witty banter between two clever siblings;
  • how they recorded one of their albums at the Crystal Palace in St. Louis in 1962;
  • how CBS, which fired the brothers in 1969, demanded more controversy from them when they returned to the network for another series in the 1980s;
  • the classic performance of “My Generation” by The Who, followed by some explosive pyrotechnics that caused Pete Townshend’s permanent hearing loss (as seen in the documentary “The Kids Are Alright”);
  • Tommy playing guitar with John Lennon on “Give Peace A Chance” in which he had to give the former Beatle a lesson in how to play it correctly;
  • why The Smothers Brothers have such a hard time getting booked on Letterman, Leno, etc.

Listen to the conversation here.

Also on Harris Online…