Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, January 7, 1999

See Dick, right, and Tommy Smothers at the
Blaisdell tomorrow and Saturday.

A couple of
yo-yos still
yukkin’ it up

The Smothers Brothers bring
a light touch to music

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


Tommy Smothers got married for the third time at 53 and started a family several years later. He says he's a much better parent and husband now than he was in his first marriage 30 years ago.

"I'm an old man with young kids but I don't think a man is really prepared to be a father until he's over 40," he said in a telephone interview.

Wife Marcy and the kids -- son Bo Tom, 5, and daughter Riley Rose, 2 -- will be in the entourage when Tommy and younger brother Dick return to Hawaii for a two-nighter with the Honolulu Symphony tomorrow and Saturday.

Smothers Brothers fans who remember the '60s recall Tommy and Dickie as leaders in the struggle against television censorship and other un-American activities. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour became a battlefield against censorship. The duo eventually lost the battle but succeeded in opening the way for others. Along the way they nurtured and mentored comedians. The roster included Mason Williams, political satirist Pat Paulsen, Chevy Chase and Steve Martin.

The Smothers Brothers hosted their own
variety television show in the '70s.

"If you share you get it all back. They all gave great colors in our show and great attitudes," Smothers says of his consistent willingness to give new talent a chance and a showcase.

The experiment continues as the Smothers explore the light side of music with the symphony. One of the highlights will be "The Yo-Yo Man," and the audience is encouraged to bring their yo-yos.

Tommy is a yo-yo advocate who keeps one ready whenever he appears in Pro-Am golf tournaments. "I've sunk two putts with the yo-yo in about eight years. One was a 26-footer at the L.A. Open and the people went crazy. A yo-yo will fit in the cup (and) if it's sleeping good the string winds up and the yo-yo heads for the hole."

Young voices could be heard in the background as Smothers spoke of parenthood, marriage and his colorful career.

"Before 40, we're all so full of ourselves and we have to be working so much. Most of the time when I talk to people they'll say that their father was great but they hardly had any time with him because he was working so much. I've already spent more time with these two kids than (with) my other son in totality ... . You really see your reincarnation in your kids when you're older."

He adds he thought for years he'd never marry again. "When I was looking for someone when I was younger I always missed it. Mason Williams wrote a poem: 'He who seeks love comes up lovelessness, for in their seeking they manifest their lovelessness.' I wasn't looking and it showed up."

He met Marcy at work nine years ago. She was a production assistant and associate producer in her late 20s. Two years later they entered into "a very rational marriage," and the difference in ages wasn't an issue.

"She's a really solid lady but she never laughs at me at home. I think I'm funny (at home) but I can never get her to laugh. She makes me laugh. She's been married to me now more than my other wives combined, times two."

Successful parenting is a new and welcome career for the entertainer. Besides yo-yos, his other interests include wine and farming. Push him politely and he'll admit his Ramick Ridge vineyards produces award-winning wines. (Call 1-800-795-WINE.)

Otherwise, he says he and Dick "work as much as we want." The concerts here will be followed by dates in Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas.

"When we started (in 1959) we were going to give it six months. That was 40 years ago. Dickie turned to me recently and said, 'I thought this was a summer job!' "


On stage

Bullet The Smothers Brothers: Perform with the Honolulu Symphony

Bullet Showtime: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday

Bullet Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall

Bullet Tickets: $15 to $50

Bullet Call: 538-8863

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