Long beforeThe Daily Show
became the most trusted name in fake news, including the one with the smarmy guy fromSportscenter
who threw away his late night career to star in a Rob Schneider movie, and even long before the first season ofSaturday Night Live
gave a much needed ribbing to the stupidity and egos in the day's news, TV hadRowan and Martin's Laugh-In
The sketch comedy ensemble that helped launch names like Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin became a cultural touchstone not just for the medium but also for edgy humor (or as edgy as you could get on a network in the late 1960s without earning the wrath of network censors or J. Edgar Hoover) in a medium that was usually too scared of its audience to try something new. It was so successful that it actually made Richard Nixon appear (gasp!) funny, perhaps for the first time ever in a completely intentional manner.
Television producer George Schlatter, the driving force behind Laugh-In as well as several other televisions comedies and the American Comedy Awards, will be honored for his work with the Ernie Kovacs Award next Friday at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of the annual Dallas VideoFest. The announcement of Schlatter's honor also came with an interesting side note. He not only joins the ranks of other pioneering television icons who received the award such as Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson, director Terry Gilliam and Beavis & Butthead and King of the Hill creator Mike Judge. He's also one of the few recipients to have a direct connection to the award's namesake. His wife, Jolene Brand Schlatter, worked on many of Kovacs' brilliant, fourth wall breaking comedy shows before his tragic death in 1962. Here is the future Mrs. Schlatter in one of her most memorable performances on Kovacs' sketch show.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.