If ever there was a master of deadpan delivery, it’s funnyman Tim Conway. His calm, straight-faced style can make almost anything funny and turn the merely funny into the side-splitting. In fact, Conway can be a literal show-stopper, reducing the other actors to helpless laughter.
Conway grew up near Cleveland and was already working in television by the time he was in his mid-20s. He gained some early but valuable experience writing material for comedy sketches. Although he wasn’t yet 30, Cleveland just wasn’t big enough for him and soon Conway had gone national, becoming a regular on “The Steve Allen Show.” A few years later, in the mid-1960s, he was playing a hilariously bumbling character on “McHale’s Navy.”
But where Conway’s talent for comedic sketches really sparkled was on “The Carol Burnett Show.” This icon of American comedy aired on CBS from 1967 until 1978, winning 25 prime-time Emmy Awards. Over the course of its 279 episodes, pretty much every big name in entertainment made at least one appearance as a guest star.
A recurring segment on “The Carol Burnett Show” was “Mama’s Family” (it was later spun off as a show in its own right). On one episode of “Mama’s Family,” Conway’s character was telling a humorous story about circus elephants. Or at least he was trying to: things were quickly getting silly on the set (or sillier than usual). Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Carol Burnett ended up breaking character and covering their faces while laughing helplessly. Conway himself literally ended up on the floor.
Check out the hilarious blooper reel posted below and let us know what you thought. Were you always a fan of Tim Conway’s inimitable deadpan style? Let’s hear from you in the Facebook comments. Don’t forget to like and share: your friends will crack up, too!