Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America

PBS (Mini-Series 2009)


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Episode Guide


    • Honey, I'm Home!: Breadwinners and Homemakers
      The domestic comedy finds humor in the roles of men and women, crazy neighbors, and America's attitudes on topics of the time. From the gentle humor of The Godbergs to the stinging barbs of Roseanne, Americans are still laughing at funny families.
    • Would Ya Hit a Guy with Glasses?: Nerds, Jerks, & Oddballs
      A look at some of the nerdy, oddball, and outcast people who had the ability to make people laugh by making fun of themselves, and each other.
    • Sock it to Me?: Satire and Parody
      Sock it to Me?: Satire and Parody
      Season 1 - Episode 6
      For years, satire and parody have been two of the leading forms of comedy. From the early days of Saturday Night Live, the hilarious films of Mel Brooks, or comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, there's no doubt that satire and parody have the ability to make America laugh.
    • Never Give a Sucker an Even Break: The Wiseguys
      The history of the "wiseguy" comedian, who always told it like he saw it. From W.C Fields, to Chris Rock, these wiseguys all had the ability to make America laugh.
    • When I'm Bad, I'm Better: The Groundbreakers
      A look at some of comedy's early pioneers of the free speech movement, where formerly taboo topics were turned into laughs by the likes of Mae West and George Carlin.
    • Slip on a Banana Peel: The Knockabouts

      The history of the hilarious antics of the slap-stick comedy geniuses, from The Three Stooges to Jim Carrey.

    • Teh Internets
      Teh Internets
      Season 1 - Episode 7
      "Teh Internets" is a half hour long program that seeks to academically understand the popularity of different content online, identifying common themes such as absurdist humor, cuteness, and a dada-esque ability to recontextualize traditional media for comedy's sake. The conversation seeks to build upon the first six episodes of Make 'Em Laugh series by identifying Internet humor as the next step in the rich history of comedy. We hope to show that our current comedic trends online are still just standing on the shoulders of giants - the comedic greats of the last century.moreless