When I was a kid, my mom would take me and my sister to spend every Saturday night with her parents, And like most families in the late sixties/early seventies, we spent a good chunk of that night watching THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW.
For a young soon to become Comedy nerd, it was like Jimmy Page hearing B.B. King for the first time.
Tim Conway had a gift for inspired silliness that bordered on the Demonic. The story about him is that TCBS would have two tapings. If a sketch played well in the first taping and could be locked for broadcast, Conway would use that second taping to essentially torture his co-stars. (As observed in the clip above.) And the results were often glorious.
It’s easy to under estimate Conway’s impact in this day and age, given that his recent output has been mostly voice work on kids shows and Dorf shorts. (His hippest appearance in years was a 2008 guest appearance on 30 ROCK playing “Republican Celebrity” where his perceived squareness was used to devastating effect. I dare you not to cackle at his delivery of “Well, that’s one mouthy sandwich girl, isn’t it?”.) But even in the Dorf Stuff, he shined. Dorf was a one note joke but damn if he didn’t commit to that joke a hundred percent each time.
Great clowns are rare and Tim Conway was one of the greatest.