After 52 years of performing together as a comedy and musical act, the Smothers Brothers announced their retirement as an act. But, it comes at a very bad time for younger brother Dick Smothers who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year. Dick Smothers is $2.7 million dollars in debt, while performing as an act garnered him an annual salary of less than half a million playing Las Vegas theaters at hotel casinos.
The Smothers Brothers were one of the most enduring family acts of all time. For decades they performed a mix of comedy and folk music that would leave audiences with a smile on their face and a warm feeling in their heart.
The Smothers Brothers once had a popular CBS comedy show in the 1960's, however during the Vietnam War some of their antiwar jokes made CBS very nervous, and the censors at the network were always on edge with their brand of humor which sometimes seemed too hip and edgy for that time on network TV. Like many in the folk music community, The Smothers Brothers represented that antiwar and anti-establishment culture. On the Smothers Brothers website there's a link to an effort to give antiwar folk singer Pete Seeger a Nobel Peace Prize.
Even though THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR was so popular that it toppled NBC's WESTERN phenomenon, BONANZA, in the ratings, CBS decided to cancel the show. This led to a successful lawsuit for breach of contract against CBS where CBS had to pay a settlement to the comic folk singers. But, THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR did manage to push the envelope for jokes about sex, religion, drugs and the Vietnam War.
Older brother Tom Smothers amazes audiences with a non-speaking character he performs onstage during shows called, "Yo-Yo Man". The Smothers Brothers' website features both merchandise and a whole section in tribute to this character used during their stage act.
Older brother Tom turned 73 this year, while younger brother Dick turned 70.
After decades entertaining, their departure from the stage is a sad day for their many fans.