Television Pioneers (02:14)
Jerry Seinfeld did not know whether he was funny the first time on stage. Ray Romano and Roseanne Barr say it takes years to become talented. Bob Newhart reflects on bringing characters to life.
Comedy Career Beginnings (06:30)
Seinfeld recalls his first stand-up performance in 1976 and appearing on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." NBC approached Seinfeld about creating a sit-com and he collaborated with Larry David. View a scene in which George uses reverse logic to ask a woman out.
Gaining National Popularity (03:34)
"Seinfeld" merged seemingly unconnected story lines; view clips from an episode. The show also produced catch phrases used throughout the country. Seinfeld discusses transitioning from stand-up to the sit-com environment.
"Home Improvement" (03:32)
Tim Allen recalls an early stand-up performance. He moved to Los Angeles but initially refused a Disney sit-com in 1990. Finally, he agreed—provided he could build his own character.
Fulfilling a Dream (03:25)
"Home Improvement" was successful, but Allen wanted to appear on Carson's "Tonight Show." He recalls a disastrous performance. In 1994, he had a number one show, book and movie; success led to being typecast as a goofy dad persona.
Barr shared her father's love of stand-up comedy. She began performing in Denver. In 1985. She moved to Los Angeles, where her career accelerated. She fought to create a sit-com on her own terms.
Working Class Sit-com (02:03)
"Roseanne" tackled unemployment, alcoholism, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and gay rights. The show remained popular for nine seasons. Barr reflects on fulfilling her vision.
Inspired by "Saturday Night Live" (02:34)
Romano began performing sketches in 1975. After poor stand-up shows, he quit comedy for two years. He eventually returned to the stage and developed the persona of a needy family man.
"Everybody Loves Raymond" (03:15)
Romano did not get sit-com offers until appearing on David Letterman's "The Late Show." Co-creator Phil Rosenthal added hovering parents to Romano's stand-up persona.
Memorable Scenes (03:38)
Romano found it challenging to let other people write his lines. View clips from "Everybody Loves Raymond." After the show wrapped, Romano ventured into dramatic territory.
Original Stand-Up to Sit-Com Couple (06:17)
The central couple in "Everybody Loves Raymond" was based on George Burns and Gracie Allen. Jack Burns began pursuing comedy in the 1950s. He started a sit-com as a psychologist in 1972, insisting his character would have no children.
After "The Bob Newhart Show" ended in 1978, Newhart began a new sit-com. He discusses the importance of a live studio audience. His character was considered funniest when reacting to eccentrics.
"The Cosby Show" (04:06)
Bill Cosby started standup in the 1960s; comedians share their admiration of his talent. He wanted his sit-com to make a difference, and was criticized by some for presenting an affluent black family.
Comic Lifestyle (03:17)
Stand-up comedians share why they always return to live audiences. Take a sit-com trivia quiz.
Credits: Standup to Sitcom, Episode 1 (00:59)
Credits: Standup to Sitcom, Episode 1
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