Night Gallery is best when it exists in the world of shadows and this episode is a great example of that. It also helps that Rod Serling wrote both stories.
“Make Me Laugh” is directed by Steven Spielberg, who also was part of the pilot. Jackie Slater (Godfrey Cambridge) is a comedian whose act is all washed up and even his agent (Tom Bosley) has given up. Yet when Catterje (Jackie Vernon) offers to give him a miracle and make everyone laugh at everything he says, he accepts the deal regardless of the consequences. It’s a quick and simple story and hey, there’s a Grandpa Al Lewis blink and you’ll miss it appearance.
“Clean Kills and Other Trophies” is directed by Walter Doniger and stars Raymond Massey as Col. Archie Dittman, a man obsessed with hunting. His son Archie Jr. (Barry Brown) has just graduated college but his father plans on cutting him off if he can’t learn how to kill, a fact that upsets his butler Tom Mboya ((Herbert Jefferson, Jr.).
Massey is great in this and the ending is ridiculous but also great. It’s so over the top that it’s hard not to laugh. It makes the episode.
Thankfully, this episode has none of the quick comedy scenes.