Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business Of America

Nerds, Jerks & Oddballs: Would Ya Hit A Guy With G

Season 1, Episode 1 of 6

Would Ya Hit a Guy with Glasses?: Nerds, Jerks & Oddballs - While America, a country of immigrants, has always championed the idea of inclusiveness, the outsider has been a source of constant amusement. Perhaps best epitomized today by characters in such blockbuster Judd Apatow comedies as The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad, this episode also looks back at the bespectacled wannabe (Harold Lloyd) and the vain coward (Bob Hope) as the ultimate outsiders of their day. Along with pioneering women in comedy like Phyllis Diller and truly zany characters who seem to have arrived from another planet (Jonathan Winters, Andy Kaufman and Robin Williams), the great social upheaval of the 60s and 70s introduced counter-culture favorites Cheech & Chong, as well as superstar nerds like Woody Allen and jerks like Steve Martin - who ultimately became so popular that the idea of the outsider had to be re-cast. Honey, I'm Home!: Breadwinners and Homemakers - The domestic farce may be the most American of comic concepts. The moment that Burns and Allen admitted to their radio audience that they were a married couple, a tradition of laughter on the home front began. Groundbreaking television sitcoms like "The Goldbergs," "I Love Lucy, " "The Honeymooners," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "All in the Family," "The Cosby Show," "Roseanne," "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" reflect the ongoing changes at home and in the workplace. Sitcoms continue to be a consistent and hilarious barometer of American gender roles and attitudes toward racism and politics.

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