Gold Derby

The inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

« Previous Post | Gold Derby Home | Next Post »

'Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In' and Dick Martin got the last laugh at the Emmys

May 25, 2008 | 10:53 am

The death of Dick Martin is shattering showbiz news — his "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" once not only had all America howling, it got the last laugh at the Emmys too.

"Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" debuted as a stand-alone special in September 1967 and showed such promise as a series that NBC gave it a regular time slot the following January. By the eighth weekly episode, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" was TV's top-rated program and Dick Martin and Dan Rowan were superstars who had America saying the wackiest things: "You bet your bippy!" "Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's" and, of course, "Sock it to me!"


The original "Laugh-In" TV special won best variety special at the next Emmy Awards. Accepting the trophy, the snarky duo thanked Laurel and Hardy "and all of the others we've stolen things from."

"Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" also toppled "The Andy Williams Show" off its throne as usual winner of best variety series. One year later, the L.A. Times hailed "Laugh-In" as "still the most dazzling of its kind," and it led with the most Emmy nominations in all categories — 11. Again it won best variety series plus a performance prize for Arte Johnson, who portrayed a Nazi who thought everything was "very in-ter-est-ing" and a trenchcoat-wearing old perv fond of flashing Ruth Buzzi.

The next year "Laugh-In" was still the No. 1 ratings hit on TV, and it entered the Emmy derby with seven nominations, but voters really socked it to Rowan and Martin and gang — rejection, that is. No wins. The show's Emmy reign was largely over.

Watch the TV academy's in-depth interview with Dick Martin, CLICK HERE!