American comedian Tommy Smothers, one half of the iconic comedy duo “Smothers Brothers,” passed away at the age of 86 after a private battle with cancer. His younger brother and longtime collaborator, Dick Smothers, announced the news on Wednesday and received an outpouring of love and support from the entertainment community.
The news was met with sadness and shock as fans and colleagues remembered Tommy Smothers as a brilliant and influential comedic mind. Comedian Roseanne Barr, who saw Smothers as a mentor, wrote a heartfelt farewell on Twitter, calling him a “genius” and thanking him for his contributions to the world of comedy.
Conservative radio host Larry Elder also shared his condolences, highlighting Smothers’ unique style of humor and his fearlessness in pushing boundaries. He described Smothers as “brilliant, funny, talented, and cutting edge.”
Smothers, along with his brother Dick, entertained generations of Americans with their variety show “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” which ran from 1967 to 1969. The show was known for its satirical take on current events and social issues, and often featured political commentary and controversial topics.
Despite its popularity, the show faced numerous clashes with CBS censors, who often censored or edited out segments deemed too provocative. Smothers, known for his unapologetic and outspoken nature, fought back against the censorship and ultimately was fired from the show in 1969, after 72 episodes.
In a statement released by the National Comedy Center, Dick Smothers described his brother as a “loving older brother” and a “one-of-a-kind creative partner.” He also expressed his gratitude for having spent a lifetime working and sharing a close bond with Tommy.
Many will remember him as a talented performer with a knack for making audiences laugh, but to his brother, he will always be a beloved family member and lifelong friend.
Rest in peace, Tommy Smothers.