Carol Burnett Show Funnyman Dead at 85.
Growing up, I was surrounded by the incredible humor of Tim Conway. From his Disney films like The Apple Dumpling Gang, to his other films that paired him with Don Knotts like The Private Eyes and The Prize Fighter, to his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, he was basically a childhood staple.
It was on Carol Burnett that he was able to really shine. He was always a steady hand in any skit, usually playing up his character’s hesitancies for laughs. His characters would act unsure; shrugging shoulders and mumbling, until transitioning into acceptance of whatever he was questioning. Once he would carry out the very thing he was unsure of, physical comedy took over with Conway, always able to convey the surprise of someone being carried away by the absurdity as if he were completely innocent of being its cause.
In pulling this off, his timing was impeccable. He was also able to keep a straight face, even when no one else could. His skits on Carol Burnett were notorious for his reliable ability to trip up fellow cast member Harvey Korman. When Conway did break character, it was often just as funny, as he would suppress his laughter as he reacted to Korman’s laughter. His interactions with Don Knotts were just as legendary, as Conway’s character was usually the optimist to Knott’s classic curmudgeon.
I’m thankful for the large body of work Tim Conway has left behind. If you aren’t familiar with him, some of the best of his skits can be found on YouTube. The other thing that stands out today is how funny he continually was, and was able to manage to be fairly clean, no matter what. He certainly wouldn’t fit in with the raunchy comedy of the Farrelly Brothers, or more recent fare. His comedy was one that could cleverly use the situation of the skit, or the overall plot of the story for maximum effect. His loss will be felt for a long time to come, but fortunately, like yesterday’s loss of Doris Day, he left a volume of work that ensures that his legacy will continue.