They were a showbiz killer app of the Kennedy years, beneficiaries of both the folk music boom and a similar one in stand-up comedy, plus they had a clean-cut suburban look and image, for those who would have preferred four more years of Ike. There was Tom (on guitar), the actual boss, though he was the goofy, spacy one onstage, and Dick (on upright bass), the stern straight man. The songs were just a prop for their comedy routines. They leveraged their fame into a short-lived sitcom (see: magic sitcoms), and later into a variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; by the end of the 60s, they had become pariahs to many in their original bourgeois and Middle American audience, and heroes to the politically disaffected.

My great cousins. Contrary to the fact that they pioneered their way through the entertainment business and were comedic geniuses of their time, they are the only relatives I have that I have never met. All I have heard are the millions of stories about these men, exposed to their comedy hour, downloaded their MP3s, laughed at them in amazement, but no, never once so much as see them in person.

They may be able to make fun of politics, but they sure as hell don't have a home life. But that's probably no surprise to anyone who has seen them. Does anyone think it's a wee bit odd that there was a Behind The Music special about them on VH1 (Why Behind the Music? Their career wasn't even based on the music industry) and then they were part of an Old Navy commercial? I never thought of them to sell themselves out by endorsing in designer clothing. They did it though.

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