Saturday, 28 April 2012

389: Anita Bryant 5 – Laugh-In

A September 5 1977 “Laugh-In” special mocked Anita Bryant. One of the sketches featured four Miami cops (one played by a young, then-unknown Robin Williams) changing into drag, singing "I Enjoy Being a Girl" and finishing by declaring, "We love you, Anita!”

Cops in drag may not be a terribly enlightened view of gay men. But the n the point of the sketch is to taunt Anita. Swishing it up to irritate the homophobes. Whatever you say gay men are, then that’s what we’ll pretend to be times two. As satire it’s in the in the category, of “You hate gays. Look, here’s some gays. Bet that sure winds you up! Ha ha – ha ha!”

Bryant seems to have been stung by this sketch as she revisits her resentment at Laugh-in’s treatment of her in her autobiography. Certainly the producers seemed to have viewed her as a gift for mockery:

‘Laugh-In producer George Schlatter, contemplating topics for the new version of the show to be seen on NBC, was quoted recently as noting, "You don't have the war anymore — but you do have Anita Bryant." (from the Tom Shales article on Johnny Carson)


"Anita Bryant is a walking punch line." says Laugh-In producer George Schlatter.

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