This LP was the second to have been lifted directly from the soundtrack of the socially groundbreaking weekly prime time television series Laugh-In. The program began as The Rowan & Martin Show on NBC. Albeit short-lived, it aired in 1966 and 1967 as a comedy/variety summer replacement for the consistently high-rating Dean Martin Show. Their unprecedented success helped to pave the way for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In -- which ultimately ran on NBC for six consecutive seasons (1968-1973), debuting on January 22, 1968. The edgy and ultra-hip comedy as well as the supremely quick editing style made the show an immediate success, as it was wholly unlike anything else on TV at that time. In addition to the blatant references to sex and (very occasionally) drugs, there were even more suggestive hidden or disguised inferences whose true and intended meanings would only fully be picked up by the ever growing counterculture. The influence of Laugh-In became increasingly evidenced by the plethora of catch phrases that emerged, the most notable being "You bet your sweet bippy," "Sock it to me," "Ring my chimes," "beautiful downtown Burbank," "Say goodnight, Dick," and "Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's!" Laugh-In '69 essentially replicates a condensed version of a typical telecast, including many of the same motifs. Among the most memorable are the weekly trip to the "Big Cocktail Party," short poems and haikus "By Henry Gibson," the "News" of the past, present, and future, as well as the perpetual one-liners that graduated from being called "quickies" during the earlier seasons to "Well, Ring My Chimes" and "Dum Dums" on this platter. While the first side of the album is eclectic in terms of subject matter, the flip side is dedicated to a series of short skits and funnies that reference "Beautiful Downtown Burbank." This locale-based humor recalls the vaudevillian or traveling minstrel shows of the past, while keeping a decidedly modern context of air pollution, urban sprawl, and the increasingly evident inefficiencies of local governments. Granted, this brand of topical satire was certainly not invented by Laugh-In, just modernized and arguably perfected in the process.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer