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Tom Smothers’ Hilarious Late Career as a Guest Star, Explained in 10 Titles


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

One half of comedy icons the Smothers brothers, who rose to fame in the ’60s with their variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Tom Smothers was something of a renegade. He and his younger brother Dick recognized early on the damage that censorship could do a supposedly free society.

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In today’s world, amid the specter of cancel culture and the modern forms of indirect censorship it leads to, the battles that Tom Smothers and his brother fought for their right to freely express themselves as artists is relevant once again. Once established and successful, what really endeared Tom Smothers to his fans was how he leveraged his multiple talents as an actor, comedian and musician in the latter part of his career to hilarious effect.

His supporting roles between the late ’90s and early ’00s accounted for some of his most memorable work. That was also why it was so sad to recently say goodbye to him after he lost his battle with lung cancer on December 26th, 2023. As we pay homage to him now, here’s a look back at those late supporting roles that cemented him as a timeless icon of the entertainment industry.

1 Spunky the Rabbit — Dream On (1993)

Poster of the cast from Dream On
HBO

Dream On was a sitcom from the early ’90s that centered around a character named Martin Tupper. It followed his life in New York and the dynamic with his ex-wife while he tries to move on and date other women. An HBO show, it featured some raunchy themes and language, but was well received and had a successful six-season run that saw it nominated for two Emmy Awards in that time.

Related: How The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Changed Television

A Fitting Role

In the premiere of season four of the show, Martin is recording a video of his son when he accidentally documents “Uncle Bouncy,” a famous children’s show character receiving the services of a sex worker in an alley. The events later ignite a media firestorm and Martin becomes embroiled in a trial because of it.

Tom Smothers added some memorable comedic aspects to the episode as he played “Spunky the Rabbit,” Uncle Bouncy’s sidekick from the kid’s show.

Dream On is currently unavailable to stream or rent

2 Dudley the Dog — Timmy’s Special Delivery: A Precious Moments Christmas (1993)

Still from Timmy's Special Delivery
Precious Moments Dolls

Timmy’s Special Delivery: A Precious Moments Christmas was a sweet and wholesome animated short packed with Christmas spirit. It featured a young angel named Timmy who teams up with a dog and mouse to spread some joy. Together they try to give two less fortunate children a teddy bear and a doll for Christmas.

A Great Choice

Even though Tom Smothers was known for his edgy humor and outspoken nature off-screen, his performance here as the dog Dudley, alongside his brother Dick, who played the boy’s father, made for a great switch of gears. He voiced a character named Dudley and proved to be very versatile as he did a great job with it.

Timmy’s Special Delivery is currently unavailable to stream or rent

3 As Himself — Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (1997)

An adult swim show, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist might not be as well known as shows like The Simpsons, but it developed a cult following for its humor and clever plot narratives. The main character is a therapist who has to deal with his patients’ problems while balancing that role with the issues he experiences in his own life.

A Great Range

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist The Smothers Brothers Tom and Dick
Comedy Central

Tom Smothers performed a voice role as himself in the penultimate episode of season four, alongside his brother as he so often was. Despite playing himself, he displayed his wonderful range as an entertainer, having some hilarious exchanges with his brother as patients in the show. Their banter and Tom’s obnoxious execution made their segment the most memorable of the episode.

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist is currently unavailable to stream or rent

Related: Stand-Up Comedians Who Became Great Actors

4 Attica, Todd’s Father — Suddenly Susan (1998)

Running for four seasons between 1996 and 2000, Suddenly Susan starred Brooke Shields as Susan Keane, a woman who leaves her wealthy husband at the altar when she realizes she wants more out of her life than just being known as his wife. She gets her old job back and begins working as a columnist from the POV of a woman who is suddenly single again.

A Great Addition

Suddenly Susan Tom Smothers as Attica, Todd's father
NBC

A funny and quirky show, Tom Smothers appeared in three episodes of it, as he played the father of the character Todd. As “Attica,” he and Todd’s mother made some very funny guest appearances, since they were something of a free-spirited hippie couple who hilariously contradicted Todd’s image.

Suddenly Susan is currently unavailable to stream or rent

5 Folkie — Maggie (1999)

still of Ann Cusack in Maggie
Lifetime

Maggie was a comedy show that only ran for one season between 1998 and 1999. It followed the titular character (played by Ann Cusack) and her husband. They have a 17-year-old daughter together, and Maggie is middle-aged when she decides to go back to veterinarian school after working at an animal clinic and developing a crush on the vet.

A Poignant Role

Tom Smothers appeared in episode 11 of the show and played a folk singer who manages to capture the essence of Maggie’s past in a song. A great little cameo, his character, aptly named ‘Folkie’, was a poignant one since Tom Smothers originally wanted to be a folk singer, but felt that he wasn’t good enough as a musician.

That led him and his brother to pivot by adding comedy to his repertoire and using his musical abilities as a great supporting act. He and his brother’s gift for clever lyrics and how seamlessly they could blend music and comedy proved that he was more than talented enough, not just as a musician, but as an entertainer in general.

Maggie is currently unavailable to stream or rent

6 Norm’s Father — Norm (2001)

Iconic comedian Norm MacDonald was at his best when he co-created and starred in the hilarious sitcom, Norm. In it, he played Norm Henderson, a field hockey player who receives a lifetime ban from the sport for gambling and tax evasion. He was sentenced to a five-year community service sentence to avoid jail and has to work there as a full-time counselor.

Legend to Legend

The late Norm MacDonald was often praised for his comedic abilities and was very influential. As a legend of the industry, it made for a great choice when Tom Smothers appeared as a guest for two episodes of the show. He played Norm’s absent father, and it was a treat seeing the two great comedians playing off each other in them.

Norm is currently unavailable to stream

7 As Himself — Mr. Bill Does Vegas (2002)

The Smothers in Mr. Bill Does Vegas
Lionsgate 

A short film with some great names attached to it, like Jenna Elfman, Budd Friedman, and even a cameo from Wayne Newton, Mr. Bill Does Vegas was a short film. The titular puppet character appears in other similarly themed shorts, and heads to Sin City this time for an adventure where he rubs elbows with the stars there.

Related:20 Best Sibling Duos in Movies and TV Shows

As Themselves

Tom and Dick Smothers both appeared together as themselves again, something the pair often did in their film and TV roles. Although not prolific actors, the brothers’ quirky appearances like these were always well-placed. Playing on their iconic reputations, it was always great when they popped up in projects you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to.

Mr. Bill Does Vegas is currently unavailable to stream

8 King Sextimus — Once Upon a Mattress (2005)

Cast photo from Once Upon a Mattress
ABC

Three years later, Tom Smothers appeared in the TV film, Once Upon a Mattress. A live-action Disney musical, it was based on the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. It featured Michael Boatman, Zooey Deschanel, and Shailene Woodley. A charming movie with plenty to keep younger viewers entertained, it made for a fun adaptation of the classic tale.

A Great Range

Once Upon a Mattress Tom Smothers as King Sextimus
Disney

Tom Smothers played King Sextimus in this one, and did a great job making the character an endearing one who was a breath of fresh air amid the morally bankrupt antagonists. Despite his own personality and sense of humor being a lot cruder in reality, Smothers showed that he had a great range as an actor through the convincingly wholesome performance he provided here.

Rent Once Upon a Mattress on Apple TV+

9 Dwayne Andreas — The Informant! (2009)

Matt Damon starred in the lead as Mark Whitacre in the biographical comedy The Informant! Despite having a successful career with a massive agricultural corporation, he outs his own company to the FBI and CIA when he learns that they’re embroiled in a huge price-fixing scandal. Turning informant, he actively assists the feds to investigate his own employees.

A Project That Fits

The Informant Tom Smothers as Dwayne Andreas
Warner Bros. Pictures

Although Tom Smothers played a small role in the film as a man named Dwayne Andreas, he showed once again how seamlessly he could transition between genres as an actor, despite acting not being his primary profession.

Since he was also famous for his outspoken political views, which were often at odds with his own brother and sometimes rubbed people the wrong way, Tom always remained a consistently principled person. The subject and themes of the film made it an ideal choice for him, since he had often made social justice matters something he never stayed quiet about in his own life.

Related: The 8 Funniest Movies Starring Stand-Up Comedians

It was these aspects that made him such a well-rounded entertainer, because he could be serious and political at times while being utterly childish and whimsical as a comedian at others. Here’s an excerpt from a piece that Los Angeles Times TV critic Robert Lloyd wrote about Smothers that perfectly captured why he was so beloved:

“Tom’s character was a child in an adult’s body, who would chuckle and snort at his own jokes and stubbornly defend his most absurd ideas. He would deliver mangled versions of American history or folklore like a schoolboy who hadn’t done his homework, filling in the gaps out of his head. He specialized in sheepish looks, or fleeting displays of self-satisfaction, or naughtiness, darting his eyes here and there, defensively or for approval from the audience. Routines would devolve into bickering, of an escalating volume, as Tom grew tongue-tied and irate in equal measure.”

Stream The Informant! on Max

10 As Himself — The Simpsons (2009)

The Simpsons is a legendary adult animated show that needs no introduction. Its lovable main family and the other residents of Springfield have been going strong since 1989. Packed with hilarity, it’s grown into a massive media and merchandising franchise and is also famous for the multitude of celebrity guest appearances it has featured over the years.

A Memorable End

The Simpsons The Smothers Brothers cameo playing instruments
Fox

As perhaps ome of the most fitting ways to end a sterling TV career, Tom and Dick Smothers both appeared on the show and voiced themselves for it during an episode from its 21st season. Anyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry has made it onto the show, so Tom’s inclusion in it proved to be a perfect way to end his later film and TV appearances after what was a truly amazing career in the entertainment industry.

Although the peak of Tom Smothers’ fame and career highlights came many decades ago, his run in the latter part of his career as a supporting actor solidified his reputation as a born entertainer and true star. While his passing was certainly a great loss, he’s given the world a wealth of amazing memories over the years and will always be remembered as a superb talent and a fierce warrior when it came to standing up for what he believed in.

For a dose of nostalgia, here’s a reminder of one of his most iconic TV moments, when he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and showed up doing an amazing impression of the man himself.

Stream The Simpsons on Disney+

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