What Were We Thinking? A Quick Look Back at 1970s Variety Shows

What Were We Thinking? A Quick Look Back at 1970s Variety Shows

The Carol Burnett Show was as watchable as a variety show could possibly be. This was because the show not only had some of the funniest comic talent in TV history, but the performers were comfortable in this genre. But due to its success, new variety shows came out of the woodwork—and just about every single one was awful. These shows contained hideous song and dance numbers as well as unfunny comedy sketches performed mainly by people who weren’t actors. The result: Really cringe-inducing television. Guest stars appeared on these shows to promote their own careers. But the question is why was anyone watching in the first place to see them?

Here are five of the worst variety shows of that era:


sonnycher21. THE SONNY & CHER COMEDY HOUR (1971-1974)
The show ended when the duo split up. Although divorced, the pair reunited in 1976 after each tried their own variety show. But the new gig, called the Sonny and Cher Show only lasted until 1977. (Note: Tony Orlando & Dawn had their own variety hour that aired in the original Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour time slot. It ran from 1974-1976 and was just as bad as any show on this list.)



Brady_Bunch_Hour2. THE BRADY BUNCH HOUR (1976-1977)
A swimming pool bordered the stage. Embarrassingly awful. It only lasted 9 episodes.





donny and marie3. DONNY & MARIE (1976-1979)
Donny and Marie would end each show by singing their trademark closing song: “May Tomorrow Be a Perfect Day.” Good grief. And they’re wearing leisure suits!





All we have to say is WHY?






mtm variety shows5. THE MARY TYLER MOORE HOUR (1979)
Did you even know this show existed? It only lasted 11 episodes. But look at the photo to the left. Three of the show’s regular players were David Letterman, Michael Keaton and Swoosie Kurtz. Click on this 1:44 clip and you will laugh (at it—not with it.)

3 Responses to What Were We Thinking? A Quick Look Back at 1970s Variety Shows

  1. Tom says:

    That Mary Tyler Moore video with Letterman is unbelievable.

  2. Paul says:

    I’d take any one of the ’70s variety shows over the honey boo boo real housewife kardashian reality show any day of the week.

    • DM40 Staff says:

      Paul: Believe us, 10 years from now, someone will be writing the “What were we thinking” article about the Kardashians. Then again, the intellect of the people who watch this garbage seems to be getting worse so who knows?