The 60’s and 70’s were a time of radical upheaval…or at least, a handful of shows attempted this. The Smothers Brothers and Laugh-In were two variety sketch shows that were making fun of life and the country as it was, not the way that the media had typically been portraying it.
Laugh-In was a psychedelic forerunner to Saturday Night Live, and even some absurd, manic shows today (Tim and Eric comes to mind). Filled with very gasp inducing humor (he said he had relations with HER?!), the show fires too quickly for many people and, i’m assuming, censors, to pick up on what is inappropriate. The show clearly has a legacy, and I cannot find an adequate link, it was excellently parodied on 30 Rock’s Live from Studio 6H (called the Gruber Brother and Nipsey Show, it’s about more than halfway through if you have Netflix).
The Smothers Brothers took a much more subtle effect but still took far more heat for their criticisms of Nixon and the war in Vietnam. They tried to hide it well under the guise of a homey variety TV show and soft spoken hosts, but the topics they used for satire were just too sensitive and CBS let them go. At least they all got Emmy’s!
Tube Of Plenty called this the Elder era of Television, which is fitting because youth inevitably stands up to challenge the elders preconceptions.