April 15, 2010

Syndicated, with reruns on USA in the mid 1980’s

Composer: Artie Butler

Instrumentation:  Brassy 1970’s disco band with vocalizations, but also heard without vocals

This is what I call a one hit game show theme wonder.  It’s really hard, in my opinion to write music for a comedy game show.  There’s the temptation to come up wioth something childish that ultimately suggests that the format isn’t strong enough on it’s own, and the comedy needs to be in your face with childish clowning around music.  Fortunately, this rarely happned during the golden age of daytime, and Artie Butler’s MAKE ME LAUGH is a prime example of a theme that could have worked for almost any concept.

I only got to see this version of MAKE ME LAUGH during the USA run.  I couldn’t believe my ears when the show started.  I was expecting childish clowning around pastiche.  Instead, I got something that was closer to DISCO INFERNO.  I loved it!  What’s more, there was a chorus vocalizing, and punctuating the theme with the occasional shout of “Laugh!”.  I always liked vocals in game show music, anyway.

Needless to sy this theme has stayed with me for 25 years, and it still makes me feel like dancing when I hear it.  As for the game itself.  I tried playing along at home, but rarely made it past the first 15 seconds of the first comedian.  Especially if Yakov Smirnov was in the lineup.  I’d love to post a Youtube link, but there’s only one clip from this version featuring gameplay, and I want you to hear this in it’s glory.  So here’s a link to the music on tvpmm.com-the Television Production Music Museum.  This site will be my backup if YouTube doesn’t deliver: http://tvpmm.com/documents/49.html

You’ll have to copy and paste. The link feature doesn’t seem to be working.



  1. I remember the show, but I’d totally forgotten the theme! How fun! 😀

    • Isn’t it, though? Makes me wish Artie had come up with other game show themes.

  2. During the summer months when school was out I’d stay up late so I could watch Make Me Laugh. Bobby Van was a terrific host and the comedians were actually very funny. With Bobby Van’s passing in 1980 I guess the show wouldn’t have been the same without him. Needless to say for the brief time it was on the air it was an enjoyable show.

    • I’m with you on the comic talent. So many moved on to great success.

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