April 26 may have quietly come and gone, but 84 years ago, one of the most effervescent comediennes to hit the small screen was born. Carol Burnett is doubtless remembered as one of sketch #comedy's brightest stars of the last 60 years, with the likes of today's big names Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph continuing to be inspired by her.
In honor of Burnett's birthday, here are some of her best sketches.
1. The Pail
Here, comedian Harvey Korman plays psychiatrist to Burnett's patient, who appears at first glance to be overly sensitive about a range of issues. But there's a secret that both doctor and patient are about to discover, and it's one that "pails" in comparison to some of the other confessions you might expect coming out of a psychiatrist's office.
2. The Elephant Story
Far and away one of The Carol Burnett Show's most hilarious moments was during a "Mama's Family" sketch when, as per usual, Tim Conway decided it was time to go off script. Burnett, Dick Van Dyke and Vicki Lawrence were struggling to maintain composure as Conway carried on for some time about Siamese elephants he'd seen at a freak show once upon a time. This is likely one of the longest laughs the show received in its 11-year run.
3. Mr. Tudball And Mrs. Wiggins
Pretty much anything involving Conway's Tudball and Burnett's airhead secretary Mrs. Wiggins was sure to leave the crew chuckling. Whether it was listening to Conway paging the secretary with his distinctive, "Mrs. ah-Whiggins," or watching Burnett steadfastly ignoring the intercom as she filed her nails, there was definitely a gaggle of giggles whenever boss and secretary shared the stage.
4. Went With The Wind
There is something to be said about the staying power of the classic Gone with the Wind. The romance of the South, the strength of the women involved, the dashing nature of the men — and all of it got turned sideways with The Carol Burnett Show's take on it. The below sketch featured the most creative use of drapery, Korman surprisingly keeping his game face intact, and the longest laugh of the show's entire run. The roaring was so long, in fact, that it had to be edited down.
5. The Dentist
While this sketch didn't feature Burnett, it was perhaps the best interaction between Conway and Korman in The Carol Burnett Show. Conway's best moments always came when he was trying to crack Korman up, and some days Korman would break faster than an uncooked egg. Such was the case with "The Dentist" sketch. It was probably one of the finest examples of Conway's abilities to riff on just about anything and his genuine skill for physical comedy.
While it's been nearly 40 years since The Carol Burnett Show ended its run, it continues to be enjoyed through the magic of the internet, with the sketch series also having its own YouTube channel. At 84, Burnett shows no intention of slowing down and is every bit as funny as she's ever been. Check out the below clip from Burnett's 1982 musical Annie, in which plays drunken orphanage manager Miss. Hannigan. Happy birthday, #CarolBurnett!
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