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Hosts
Robert Q. Lewis (1958)
Bobby Van (1979–1980)
Ken Ober (1997)
Mark Cohen (1998)
Announcers
Glenn Riggs (1958)
Ken Roberts (1958)
Bill Berry (1979)
Johnny Gilbert (1979)
John Harlan (1979)
Lou DiMaggio (1997–1998)
Broadcast
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ABC: 3/20/1958 – 6/12/1958
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Pilot: 1978
Syndication (Daily): 1/15/1979 – 2/29/1980
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Pilot: (TBD)
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Comedy Central: 6/2/1997 – 2/10/1998
Packagers
Make Me Laugh Productions (1958)
Lukehill Productions (1979–1980)
Dove Four Point Productions/
Buena Vista Television (1997–1998)
Distributor
Paramount Television (1979–1980)

1958 Finale Speil: "(Insert Sponsor) present the hilarious new show… Make Me Laugh! And tonight our comics are going to attempt to break up four prominent personalities, each of whom will be playing as a proxy for one of you at home: Rocky Graciano! Kim Hunter! Skitch Henderson! And Greta Tyson! And here are tonight's comedians: Louis Nye! Orson Bean! And Joey Carter! And here is your Make Me Laugh host, Robert Q. Lewis!"

1979 Opening Speil: "It's the hilarious comedy show, Make Me Laugh! And here is your host, Bobby Van!"

Make Me Laugh was an American game show in which contestants watched three stand-up comedians performing their acts, one at a time, earning one dollar for every second that they could make it through without laughing. Each comedian got 60 seconds to try to break the contestant up. Contestants could win up to $180 by getting past all three comics.

The hosts[]

The original version, with Robert Q. Lewis as host, aired for three months in 1958 on ABC. Bobby Van hosted a syndicated revival during the 1979-80 season, and Ken Ober hosted a 1997 revival on Comedy Central, replaced for the second season by Mark Cohen.

ABC version[]

Each episode featured four guests. Originally, the first three guests were civilians while the fourth one was a celebrity who played for a home viewer that was chosen by pulling a postcard from a revolving drum. This was later changed to having celebrities playing for home viewers throughout the whole show.

Syndicated version[]

On Van's version, contestants (who were selected from the audience) that lasted the full three minutes had their winnings doubled to $360.

Four games were played on each show; the last one featured a celebrity guest playing for an audience member. The civilian would receive a prize just for being chosen, and up to three more prizes based on how many comedians the celebrity could survive.

At the end of each show (according to time), Bobby and the three comedians would go out into the studio audience and try to make them laugh.

A number of then-unknown comics appeared on this version before going on to greater fame; among them were Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, Gallagher, Gary Mule Deer, Bill Kirchenbauer, Yakov Smirnoff, Bruce 'Babyman' Baum and Garry Shandling.

The theme music for this version was entitled "Laugh", and was performed by Artie Butler and the Big Boffers.

Comedy Central version[]

In the Comedy Central version, the game remained the same but with new additions. There were two formats to this version.

Gameplay (Ober's Version)[]

Main Game[]

Round 1[]

Three contestants competed, one at a time; rules were the same as the other two versions.

Round 2: The Toughest Room in America[]

The three contestants now predicted if one of the three comedians could make another person laugh, and wagered any or all of their current scores, based on how strong they felt about their prediction. A correct prediction added the wager but an incorrect prediction deducted it. After two people had each been put to the test, the player with the most money at the end of this round won the game. The losing contestants received a joke consolation prize.

Bonus Round: Tag Team Round[]

This round was called "The Tag Team Round", because the winning contestant now faced all three comics in this part of the game. The contestant had the usual 60 seconds, and the comics alternated turns. If the winning contestant survived the full minute, he/she won $500; otherwise he/she earned $5 per second.


The highest possible grand total for any one player is $1220.

Gameplay (Cohen's version)[]

Main Game[]

Round 1[]

Three contestants, who were randomly selected from the studio audience, competed; each contestant came out one by one in this round, much like the 1970s version.

Round 2: Tag Team Round[]

This was played like "The Toughest Room in America Round" & the Bonus Round from the first season. However, in the this version, the three contestants now predicted if one of the three comedians could make another audience member laugh, and wagered any or all of their current scores, based on how strong they felt about their prediction. What's different about this round is that the audience member had 90 seconds (1 minute 30 seconds) to face the comics (30 seconds per comic). A correct prediction added the wager but an incorrect prediction deducted it. The players did it once instead of twice, and the one with the most money at the end of this round won the game. The losing contestants won a real consolation prize, instead of a joke prize.

Bonus Round: Mystery Comic[]

The winning contestant this time, instead of facing any of the three comics in this part of the game, he/she now faced a mystery comic for up to $500. The contestant had 100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds) instead of 60 to face that comic, earning $5 per second of no laughter.


The highest possible grand total for any one player is $860.


If there was any time left in the show, host Mark Cohen played the game himself with the main comedians.

End-of-Show Disclaimer[]

"Prior to their participation on the program, contestants have been interviewed and information on contestants' backgrounds has been given to our comedians." - (1979-1980)

British Version[]

A British version produced by Associated-Rediffusion hosted by Chesney Allen aired on ITV for one series in late 1958.

In 1983, Tyne Tees produced a revival hosted by Bernie Winters for ITV.

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Pictures[]

2016 proposed revival[]

According to an article from TVNewsCheck.com[1](originally posted on September 30, 2015) Bill Carroll (senior vice president and direction of Katz Television Group) heard of rumors that a revival was once planned in syndication for the Fall 2016 season, however, no distributor was never made.

Studios[]

Little Theater, New York City, NY (ABC Run)
Studio 3, KTLA Television, Los Angeles, CA (Syndicated Run)
The Production Group Studios, Hollywood, CA (Comedy Central Run)

References[]

External links[]

Rules for Make me Laugh @ Loogslair.net
1997 Make me Laugh rules
Pat Francis makes these contestants laugh!

YouTube Videos[]

Make me Laugh Game Show 1950s Final Episode
Best Contestant Ever
Frank Zappa Says Make Me Laugh
John DeBellis trying to make someone laugh in the 90s version