9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Laugh-In' Tribute Set at Netflix With Original Star Lily Tomlin
Netflix is paying tribute to one of television's greatest comedies.
The streamer on Monday announced Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate, a tribute marking the 50th anniversary of the NBC sketch comedy. (The series, which ran from 1968-1973, marked its 50th anniversary in January 2018.)
The Netflix special — which will be recorded from Hollywood's Dolby theater on Friday, March 8 — will feature original star Lily Tomlin returning to revive her seminal Edith Ann and Ernestine characters. A premiere date for the special has not yet been determined.
Tomlin will be joined by an impressive who's who of comedy for the special, including: Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Neil Patrick Harris, Taye Diggs, Michael Douglas, Jay Leno, Rita Moreno, Rita Wilson, JoAnne Worley, Maria Bamford, Margaret Cho, Ron Funches, Brad Garrett, Nikki Glaser, Lisa Ann Walter, Bobby Moynihan, Cheri Oteri, Rob Riggle, Jeff Ross, J.B. Smoove, Tony Hale, Jon Lovitz, Natasha Leggero and more. The stars will take quintessential sketches and acts from the original series and add a contemporary flair to help illustrate that 50 years later, Laugh-In never gets old.
Dave Broome (The Day I Met El Chapo, Ultimate Beastmaster) will executive produce via his 25/7 Productions banner alongside Laugh-In's legendary creator George Schlatter. The latter will also be in attendance on Friday.
Laugh-In launched the careers of Tomlin, Goldie Hawn and Saturday Night Live mastermind Lorne Michaels while helping to create late-night television. NBC, which initially wasn't pleased with the series, stuck with the series because it had nothing else to air opposite mega-hits The Lucy Show and Gunsmoke.
In a Hollywood Reporter oral history last year to mark its 50th anniversary, creator Schlatter recalled the origin stories for Tomlin's beloved characters Ernestine and Edith Ann, as well as the backstories for pop culture phrases like "sock it to me" and "respect" came from. Schlatter also recalled a conversation with Rupert Murdoch, who had approached him for a new take and a "longing" to do new satirical projects.
"Laugh-In was a perfect show for its time. Fifty years later, we haven't fixed a thing. We still have an unpopular president, sexism, pollution. The time's right now," he told THR. "Maybe it'll help people remember what was and what can be. I've made offers to Trump and Tom Brokaw, who used to come up all the time to watch us tape, to appear on a show. I'd love to get Obama and Gloria Allred, people who aren't known as variety show performers. They're the best."
Tomlin currently stars on Netflix's Grace and Frankie.