“Make ‘Em Laugh” Premiers Tonight

Did you hear the one about PBS airing a comedy series? It’s no joke, but it is funny. Tonight, KLRU will present the first episode in the series MAKE ’EM LAUGH: The Funny Business of America, (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/makeemlaugh/) a six-hour comedy epic showcasing the most hilarious men, women, and moments in American entertainment and why they made us laugh. Hosted by Billy Crystal, the documentary series explores the currents of American comedy throughout a century of social and political change, illuminating how comedy has tackled and poked fun at our political system, race relations, gender issues, and the prevailing American standards and taboos in everyday life.

The series premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on KLRU.

Melding performance, biography and history, MAKE ’EM LAUGH features interviews with over 90 comedians, writers, producers, and historians including Judd Apatow, Roseanne Barr, Anne Beatts, the Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Sid Caesar, George Carlin, Larry David, Will Ferrell, Leonard Maltin, Cheech Marin, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Mort Sahl, Dick Van Dyke, and many, many more.

Each one-hour episode focuses on a distinct genre of American comedy – from the most ingenious physical schtick, to those fast-talking wiseguys, to the most incisive satire and parody – re-acquainting viewers with some of their favorite classics. Billy Crystal will introduce each episode and Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy) will narrate throughout.

Highlights 1/11 to 1/17

Sunday, Jan. 11
A poor but proud young woman falls prey to a very wicked man and very good one in this latter-day Greek tragedy on Masterpiece Classics’ Tess of the D’ubervilles at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Monday, Jan. 12
Michael Wood’s fascinating journey through the history of the Indian subcontinent, The Story Of India at 8 p.m. Monday chronicles the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes. Parts 2 and 3 back-to-back.

Independent Lens Helvetica at 10 p.m. Monday explores typography, graphic design and global visual culture; and looks at the proliferation of one typeface as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.

Tuesday, Jan. 13
Nova at 7 p.m. Tuesday retraces explorer Roald Amundsen’s triumphant voyage, taking viewers to the Canadian Arctic where his name is legendary among the native people.

Bestselling author, economist, historian, and Harvard professor Niall traces the evolution of money and demonstrates that financial history is the essential back-story behind all history on Ascent of Money at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Imagine watching “Schindler’s List” and knowing the sadistic Nazi camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes was your father. P.O.V. at 10 p.m. Tuesday presents “Inheritance” the story of Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth.

Wednesday, Jan. 14
Make Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America at 7 p.m. Wednesday focuses on the nerds, jerks and oddballs in movies and standup comedy.

Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 11 p.m. Friday features U.K. sensation Paolo Nutini and Austin’s Grupo Fantasma.

Thursday, Jan. 15
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst gives a preview the 81st regular session of the Texas legislature on Texas Monthly Talks at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Docubloggers at 7:30 p.m. Thursday revisits some of the best stories of the past seasons, including children’s book author, chemistry professor, and piñata maker Brian Anderson.

Journey to the bowels of the Austin History Center and meet the keepers of the past on Downtown at 8 p.m. Thursday.

In Context at 8:30 p.m. Thursday focuses on the creative process with interviews with artists.

Friday, Jan. 16
Rick Steves’ Iranat 9 p.m. Friday details the country’s rich artistic and cultural heritage capturing today’s Persian culture: from Friday prayer in a leading mosque to challenges confronting Iran’s youth, from anti-American murals to the warmth and hospitality of a family dinner, and from the tranquility of rural life to the frenzied traffic of modern Tehran.

Grammy Award-winners the Foo Fighters rock Austin City Limits at 7 p.m. Saturday with songs from their latest album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.

Review: Frontline online

Program: Frontline
Web site: PBS.org/frontline

Whenever I tag promos at KLRU, Frontline is always a show that stands out to me.  They always have topics relevant to today’s world.  Whether its social changes in China, the 2008 election, Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela or the struggle to maintain America’s retirement funds, Frontline always has the latest and greatest information.  As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I do not have much time to watch television, so the internet is a resource I frequently use to keep up to date with the times. more