Running on CBS from 1967 to 1978, The Carol Burnett Show was a wee bit before my time (well, except for those two seasons I watched from my playpen with my Clifford the Big Red Dog).
Thank the prophets for reruns. Every weekday evening on TBS (and, of course, after my homework was finished), I had the opportunity to laugh myself into oblivion at the genius comedy antics of Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, and Vicki Lawrence (sometimes the reruns that I saw would feature Lyle Waggoner, but I don’t think I ever saw the season that had Dick Van Dyke in it). More than just a comedy variety show, Burnett and her cast mates were amazingly adept at tapping into popular culture and lampooning it with inimitable style. Nothing was safe as they burned through spoofs of television, movies, commercials, music…anything was fair game.
My favorite part of the show, however, wasn’t necessarily the proper, rehearsed routines. Oh no. I loved the mistakes. The goofs and gaffs that typically would find their way onto show blooper reels, but with Burnett’s shows, they sometimes made their way on air. Why? Because they were hilarious. Sometimes even funnier than the “correct” skits. I’ve found a couple on YouTube along with a longer blooper reel. Surprisingly, YouTube has quite a few clips from The Carol Burnett Show, which I think is really cool. It also makes up for the fact that the show hasn’t been released in its entirety on DVD. Yet.
Burnett attempted to revive her variety show back in 1991, this time on NBC. Unfortunately, the era of variety shows had long since passed. It’s quite a shame, though. I remember this new show being funny. Not quite as good as her original run, but still able to provide solid laughs. Like the following skit, which of course would appeal to me. Not only is it a spoof of Star Trek, but it features Andrea Martin, who would later go on to play Quark’s mom on DS9. What is there not to love about this?