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What Makes Us Laugh and Why

Comedians are already lamenting the departure of George W. from the White House -- an undeniably rich resource of material for writers. Many expect Obama will be less comedically inspiring. Larry Mas

What Makes Us Laugh and Why

Maureen Cavanaugh : All the world wants to laugh, but nowhere it seems, more than right here in America. A new PBS series called "Make 'Em Laugh" begins tonight about the funny business of America...tracing the trends and trailblazers of American comedy for the last 100 years.

What's the connection between Bob Hope and Gilda Radner? Or Will Rogers and Billy Crystal? From satire to pratfalls, this series and the accompanying book, makes an very enjoyable study of funny.


The PBS series "Make 'Em Laugh," hosted by Billy Crystal and narrated by Amy Sedaris, begin airing on KPBS-TV at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 14, 2009.


  • Laurence Maslon , co-author of "Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America."
  • Michael Kantor , co-author of "Make 'Em Laugh" and producer and director of the PBS series "Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America."