This article reviews the evolution of the UCLA fullerene research over the past two years from the perspective of laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS). As a fast and sensitive analytical method, it has critically contributed to a wide range of fullerene related research projects. Immediately after the discovery of a method for making C60, C70 and selected higher fullerenes in macroscopic amounts, a concerted effort in different laboratories led to the isolation and structure determination of C76, C78, C82 and tentatively C84. Simultaneously with the work on pure fullerene, important progress was achieved in the synthesis of metallofullerenes and derivatized fullerenes. LDMS continually documented progress or failure in extraction, isolation and synthesis and helped to plan future research. Recently, synthesis of C60 and larger fullerenes from precursors, e.g., C18(CO) 6, and coalescence reactions of fullerenes, induced by high fluence of the desorption laser, introduced a new aspect of this otherwise exclusively analytical method.