Tim Conway had a successful run on a very popular sitcom as Ensign Charles Parker on McHale’s Navy (1962-66.) He had leading roles in several movies (including The Apple Dumpling Gang with Don Knotts, 1975). He even had his own sitcom (The Tim Conway Show) and variety hour (The Tim Conway Razzle Dazzle Hour). But you can pretty much ignore all that. Because what took Tim Conway into the Comedy Hall of Fame is his eleven years as the funniest person on one of America’s all-time funniest programs: The Carol Burnett Show.
The show taped twice on Friday nights. Usually, Conway would play it by the script for the first take. But on the second taping, he’d ad lib and improvise, and the rest of the cast was helpless with laughter. Especially Harvey Korman, who often played Conway’s straight man. Their interactions remain some of the funniest moments in television history.
Conway’s most memorable character was probably the long-suffering Mr.
Tudball, who had to endure the hopeless Mrs. Wiggins. These performances were chief among the reasons Conway won four Emmy for the show (he’s since won two more for guest appearances on Coach and 30 Rock). In fact, Conway is the reason that someone had to invent YouTube. His performances are captured there, and you can easily watch them all night. Like this improvised bit on elephants, possibly the funniest skit ever on an all-time classic show.