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.A few years later, he would create and produce a revered country music album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, for which, it seems to me, everyone gets credit but him, even though Bill dreamed it all up and made it happen.He corralled some recording time for me at those Nashville sessions—after Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Jimmy Martin had gone home for the evening—to lay down some banjo tunes I had written.In 1981 the songs appeared on my final last-gasp comedy album, The Steve Martin Brothers.In my Laurel Canyon apartment.Notice the Ed Kienholz on the wall, one of the first artworks I ever bought, acquired from a local gallery.Bill McEuen was rebellious, defiant, and loved to watch the big guy squirm.After I had achieved success, he said to me, “Right now there are a lot of old-time comedians saying, ‘What the fuck?’” He had banged his way out of nowhere, too, living just a few miles from me in Garden Grove and growing up under the thumb of a critical father.He had long hair before it was fashionable and kept it not only after it was unfashionable but forever.He also loved comedy.We were united in our worship of Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Steve Allen, and Jerry Lewis.You can hear Bill’s laugh buried somewhere on each of my albums.He even came up with one of my staple jokes of the period: “Do you mind if I smoke? Uh, no, do you mind if I fart?”We started hanging around together—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—along with his beautiful wife, Alice, who was an excellent photographer.My MGB GT seated two, which meant one of us had to ride in the hatchback trunk, and it was always Bill, who, at six-four, had to curl up like a cat to fit into the car.Bill, after seeing my act a hundred times, asked if he could manage me.“What’s a manager?” I said.After he explained, I didn’t quite understand, and I don’t think he did, either, but we struck a handshake deal for no other reason than that we had nothing to lose.Bill and Alice McEuen, me, and their cat “White Cat,” in Laurel Canyon.John McEuen, whom I hadn’t seen in about a year, came to the house.He had been on the road and grown his hair long, which surprised me, because I was still resisting.He noted my response, stroked his locks, and said, “Part of the business.” Soon after, I grew my hair long and with my earnings from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, financed a garish collection of turquoise jewelry that I would wear onstage.I was now a full-blown hippie, though not walking around stoned because of my earlier disastrous experience.I riffed on the drug era with this bit, which was delivered in a secretive, low whisper:“I’m on drugs….You know what I’m talking about….I like to get small….It’s very dangerous for kids, because they get realllly small….I know I shouldn’t get small when I’m driving, but I was drivin’ around the other day and a cop pulls me over…says, ‘Hey, are you small?’ I say, ‘No, I’m tall, I’m tall!’ He says, ‘I’m gonna have to measure you.’ They give you a little test with a balloon.If you can get inside it, they know you’re small…and they can’t put you in a regular cell, either, ’cause you walk right out.”The Smothers Brothers show continued to rankle the brass at both CBS and the federal halls of power.Sketches dealing with race, war, and politics, mixed in with anomalies such as Kate Smith singing “God Bless America,” made it a hit in the ratings and at the watercooler.It thrived on controversy, but we writers didn’t know the level of rancor the Brothers were facing.One morning in 1969, I was driving to work when I heard on the radio that the Smothers Brothers show had been ignominiously axed.Ostensibly, CBS canceled the show because of late delivery of an episode, but I knew what really had canceled it: a trickle-down from President Nixon.The Brothers had surely made Nixon’s enemies list, and probably all of us writers had, too, and the political pressure must have been too much for lumbering CBS, which didn’t need static from the FCC.After the show’s demise, our team of eight writers won Emmys, the academy’s defiant response to the CBS brass.Even after this gold-plated recognition, my father still urged me to go back to college so I would “have something to fall back on.”No comment.Comedy was now fully charged with political energy [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]