In the golden era of TV comedy, when sitcoms ruled the waves and viewers were treated to legendary performances every week, there was a skit from season 6, episode 17 of The Carol Burnett Show that was, and remains, pure gold. It was a skit so funny that it would rival any scene from even the most popular TV shows in the ’70s.
The scene? A hapless bank robber trying to make a swift exit but inadvertently stopping at the most disastrously funny gas station run by none other than Tim Conway’s character. For those of you who, like me, spent many Sunday evenings curled up at our grandparents’ house, you might recall the warm familiarity of Tim Conway’s antics. He was a comedic genius who, alongside Harvey Korman, always had me in stitches.
The plot’s brilliance lies in its simplicity. Willis Specs Torgenson, having just escaped the law with a sizable amount of cash, frantically stops for gas. But this isn’t any old pit stop. It’s Tim Conway’s gas station. And, boy, does it turn into a roller-coaster of comic errors? As someone who’s always admired the genius of Harvey Korman, watching his interactions with Conway in this particular skit is nothing short of delightful.
From the get-go, the robber’s urgency clashes hilariously with Conway’s character’s desire to give the full, very, VERY full, service experience. Each moment, from the genuine tumbler giveaway to the “award-winning” restrooms, serves as a reminder of the pure comedy gold that the 70s TV landscape provided. And that line about being “down two bullets”? Classic. You can almost see Harvey’s characters becoming increasingly frustrated, a hallmark of many of their shared sketches.
But it wasn’t just about the comedy but the connection these two had. The dynamic between Conway and Korman was legendary. The two could generate more laughter with a simple look or gesture than many can with an entire monologue. Having watched these two masters at work on stage, I can attest that their real-life camaraderie translated seamlessly to the screen. They truly were a comedic powerhouse.
There’s something deeply comforting about revisiting these old sketches. They take me back to simpler times when my only worry was missing the next episode of my favorite show. It’s a much-needed reprieve from today’s often somber headlines. And even if you were to watch this skit for the hundredth time (like me), Tim’s outlandish antics combined with Harvey’s impeccable comedic timing never grow old. These two were true geniuses, and I can only say GOD BLESS both of them for the joy they’ve given to so many, including me.
I know many of you share my sentiments. This skit from The Carol Burnett Show in 1973 not only stands as one of its funniest but also as a testament to the unmatched talent of its actors. If this article brought back some warm, nostalgic memories for you, do me a favor and share it with your friends and family. Let’s spread some good old-fashioned laughter!