Tim Conway was famous for his improvisation and ad-libbing on “The Carol Burnett Show.” However, not everyone was a fan of his off-the-cuff lines. Vicki Lawrence would get frustrated with Tim going off-script. One time she couldn’t help but let her frustration shine through during a taping of “The Family.”
The scene is famous. Tim is in character as Mickey Hart and won’t stop droning on and on about a story involving an elephant. The entire cast is cracking up on stage, including Vicki. The length that Tim is able to make this bit go on is a comedic feat, but Vicki had had enough. Toward the end, she lets a curse word slip out when she asks if everyone thinks Tim is done.
Mrs. Wiggins’ Skirt
Mrs. Wiggins is one of Carol Burnett’s most recognizable characters. The air-headed secretary to Mr. Tudball would always enter a scene with a very unique waddle that became a comedic bit in and of itself. It turns out that Carol didn’t know how she would embody the character of Mrs. Wiggins until she tried on the costume.
Costume designer Bob Mackie intentionally made Mrs. Wiggins’ black skirt too big. As a result, must to her dismay, Carol had to walk with her derriere sticking out and her back arched. This walk of necessity turned into Mrs. Wiggins’ signature strut and defining feature.
A Bathroom Revelation
In “The Family,” Vicki Lawrence plays Mama, and Carol Burnett plays Eunice, Mama’s daughter. The two actresses had excellent on-screen chemistry, but not everything about this famous sketch was rehearsed on-stage. The two women found some character inspiration in one of the most unlikely of places: the bathroom.
One time the two women took a bathroom break and ended up yelling at each other from their respective stalls. They soon realized that the yelling match, which started off as a joke, was a great match in chemistry for their “Family” characters. They took that nagging energy and channeled it into their bickering counterparts.
A Surprising Spat
All the cast members on “The Carol Burnett Show” seemed to get along swimmingly with each other on-screen. However, the show wasn’t without its fair share of drama. Carol Burnet revealed decades later that she had a confrontation with co-star Harvey Korman after he stormed off set in a bad mood.
According to Carol, Harvey was in a foul mood that day and was very rude to Tim Conway and another special guest on the show. When Carol tried to confront Harvey about his rude behavior, he slammed a door in her face. The two eventually made up, and Harvey got his mood under control, but this shows it wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine on set.
A Painful Scene
Tim Conway was great at ad-libbing and improvising during his time on “The Carol Burnett Show.” However, there was one scene where things got a little too real. Tim and Harvey Korman performed a scene that took place in a submarine, and Tim did some physical comedy that made him very uncomfortable– literally.
The submarine’s periscope pins Tim to the ground in one part of the sketch. The look of discomfort and pain on his face is very real. He had recently gotten an operation done, so when the periscope hit him in the groin area, he was more sensitive than usual. Thankfully, he played it off. The audience was none the wiser.