Make Me Laugh was a short-lived game show with a unique premise: a contestant was seated while professional comedians told jokes, engaged in prop comedy or did anything else they could think of to make the contestant laugh. Each comedian had sixty seconds to perform, and the contestant had to watch the acts.
Here are some examples:
The show lasted just over a year, running from January of 1979 through February of 1980, but it provided a showcase and a career-launching start for many young comedians including Dave Barry, Garry Shandling, Gallagher, Yakov Smirnov and Bob Saget.
Lasting only a little more than a year would seem to be a bit of a failure for a television show… but not in this case. It is undeniable, after all, that surviving for thirteen months is superior to lasting for three months.
The three month mark is important because the 1979-1980 Make Me Laugh was a revamp of an earlier show from 1958… and not much of a revamp. That show was called Make Me Laugh, featured comedians performing one-minute acts for individuals and trying to get them to laugh. It was, in fact, the exact same show, outside of a different host, different comedians and an updated set.
It’s hard to blame the early comedians. The first guests on the original show were Sid Gould, Buddy Lester and Henny Youngman. Still, after that version’s quick demise, the creators were able to resurrect the show twenty years later, demonstrating conclusively that the modern trend of recycling old shows has been a staple of Hollywood for longer than most care to credit.
And the cycle continued. Comedy Central brought back the show in 1997, this time with it lasting two seasons… because nothing in Hollywood can be so much of a failure that it can’t be remade.
Question of the night: What’s a meme or joke that made you laugh?