Comedy is Central to CPTV During Month of March
HARTFORD, Conn. – Spring is a time for life – and laughter. Throughout the month of March, Connecticut Public Television (CPTV, www.cptv.org) will keep viewers in stitches with a smorgasbord of comedy specials spanning the length of the 20th century. From the tentative, uncharted expeditions of the first television comedians to the pioneering female comedians of the ‘60s and ‘70s, CPTV takes a light-hearted look at the art of making people laugh.
In the beginning, before television, there was vaudeville, there was radio and there were comedians. Pioneers of Primetime, airing March 18 at 8 p.m., blends never-before-seen interviews and a treasure trove of rare clips to chronicle television comedy’s long-forgotten pedigree.
Later the same night, CPTV airs the stories of two influential female comedians: Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character, at 9 p.m., and Erma Bombeck: A Legacy of Laughter at 10:30 p.m. By brilliantly playing with stereotypes of glamorous women, dumb dames and goofy girls, Burnett smashed some of the most limiting female images and created an empowering new one: the woman who is as feminine and likable as she is talented and powerful, and whose message isn’t any more radical than a simple invitation to laugh. And Bombeck was a true renaissance woman: author, lecturer, television producer, ERA supporter, wife and mother. Family friend Phil Donahue narrates this tale of a woman whose tales of domestic life gave voice to millions of homemakers and left an indelible mark on American culture.
Viewers will catch the sharper edge of comedy with Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, airing on Saturday, March 21 at 9 p.m. The program examines the turmoil that surrounded the late-1960s variety show, which brought a fiery new brand of political comedy to the airwaves for three seasons. When they were fired in 1969, the Brothers took their network to court – and won. This is the fascinating true story as told by its key players, including performers, show writers, network executives and the Brothers themselves.
As the month draws to a close, relive a classic of American comedy with Hal Holbrook’s performance of Mark Twain Tonight, airing on March 28 at 9 p.m. The popularity of Holbrook's long-running one-man show about Mark Twain is sustained by the universal relevance of Twain's candid observations on politics, culture, race, and the world – as much today as during Twain’s lifetime.
Airdates and Times
Pioneers of Primetime
Airs Wednesday, March 18 at 8 p.m.
American Masters: Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character
Airs Wednesday, March 18 at 9 p.m.
(Repeats Friday, March 20 at 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m.)
Erma Bombeck: Legacy of Laughter
Airs Wednesday, March 18 at 10:30 p.m.
(Repeats Saturday, March 21 at 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 22 at 3:30 p.m.)
Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Airs Saturday, March 21 at 9 p.m.
Mark Twain Tonight
Airs Sunday, March 28 at 9 p.m.
About Connecticut Public Television
CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN, www.cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women's Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily. The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York and RhodeIsland with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and / or www.wnpr.org.