In September of 1967, the first episode of The Carol Burnett Show aired to an audience who were about to experience something completely different. Being a variety and sketch show, the norm for which was to be led by men, Carol had to prove that she could be funny, versatile and creative. Head of CBS at the time, Michael Dann responded to Burnett’s request to create her show by explaining that variety was a “man’s genre”, and offered her a sitcom instead. Luckily, because of a clause in her contract with CBS, the network was obliged to honor Burnett’s request, resulting in a show which would go on to be included in Time’s “100 Best TV Shows of All Time”.
But, it would seem that even more fun was had shooting the show than watching it…
While The Carol Burnett show was undeniably funny to watch, the cast liked to have their own fun.
It seems that the cast, eventually consisting of Burnett, Harvey Norman, Vicki Lawrence and the deviously spirited Tim Conway were not shy to have a little unscripted fun. Other times, due to a silly hiccup or a forgotten line, unscripted laughter occurred not just for the audience, but for the indulging actors too.
Sometimes, one take is just not enough!
A troupe of quick-thinkers!
What makes these actors so amazing, is their ability to think on their toes and turn a forgotten or mis-spoken line into a brand new gag in it’s own right. In one scene where Harvey Norman’s character is attempting to seduce Burnett’s character, the line get’s a little mixed. Not to lose the humor however, Harvey thinks quick:
Harvey: “A bottle of wine-”
Carol: “-jug of wine.”
Harvey: “-jugs are nice too…”
Needless to say, the audience erupts in hysterics. The two actors however, struggle to keep their composure.
Other times, things just get away from the actors. Like spelling!
When Tim Conway is trying to deliver his line, the spelling of the word “relief” seems to evade him. Dressed as a construction worker, he delivers the line, “I spell relief, R-E-L-I-F-E” with confidence, but perhaps he should have taken it a little slower…
Once again, Conway attempts his line, however this time, he doesn’t get much closer. His second attempt: “I spell relief, R-E-L-I-F.” Nice try Tim, but still not not quite right! Always ready to spin a joke, Conway remarks to nearby on-set noise- “Would you hold it down, we’re trying to spell over here?” Eventually, the crew resort to writing the illusive word on the back of the clapper for Conway to see.
Sometimes Conway is too funny for his own cast-mates!
It would seem that not only is Tim Conway sharp as a tack, he also has a talent for physical comedy. In one sketch, he plays a dentist who should learn to exercise a little caution with his anesthetic needle, accidentally injecting his own arms and legs. This proves to be a little too much for Norman’s composure which he simply cannot suppress his laughter.
Sooner or later, the dam’s gotta burst!
When Conway’s character accidentally injects his own face with the needle, Norman can’t handle it anymore and cracks up uncontrollably. I guess it’s not so easy acting opposite someone so funny!
And that’s just a few of the moments!
One after the other, each blooper scene just goes to show that great actors are what makes shows like this so special. The quick wits of the cast, and the fact that they all seem to be having the times of their lives on stage is what truly makes great television. Thank you Carol, for bringing the hilarity of your show to the world, and thanks for sticking around to keep us laughing!
Watch the full video below to see all of these hilarious hiccups!
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