Harvey Korman was hand-picked for The Carol Burnett Show

The actor revealed that Burnett had specifically requested him by name for a role on her show.

Picture this: You're one of the most famous people in the world, but nobody knows who you are. It sounds a little like a curse, but for Harvey Korman, it was his reality.

As a veteran of variety shows, Korman is perhaps best known for his time on The Carol Burnett Show, playing a myriad of characters and hilariously excelling at portraying all of them. It could be argued that the true test of an actor is their ability to transform into the character. This is a trait that is considered incredibly important in sketch comedy. In a sitcom, many actors have the comfort of adhering to a single character for a prolonged period of time. In sketch comedy, actors are constantly alternating between characters not just between episodes, but between scenes. However, Harvey Korman thrived in such a hectic environment, and was able to seamlessly blend into each character he was charged with portraying. However, it was his chameleon-like versatility as an actor that might actually have hindered him at times.

Korman once recounted an incident to the Miami-Herald-Copley News Service on The Carol Burnett Show where he was heckled by members of the production crew as he was preparing for a sketch with Carol. One production member called out, "'Who are you?'" and after answering, another production member called out jokingly, "What do you do?" 

Korman recounted the incident and expanded that although these remarks were made in jest, it was symbolic of a larger issue Korman found himself dealing with more and more frequently: As his characters became more and more recognizable, the actual Harvey Korman was becoming less and less visible.

He said, "These were studio people heckling me, but I do have trouble with people fitting my name with my face. The main reason for this is because on Carol's show, I'm rarely seen as Harvey Korman."  Korman was brave enough to admit that the added confusion wasn't just affecting him at work; It was affecting his personality.

He said, "I don't have any trouble keeping the characters straight, but there are times when I can't remember who Harvey Korman is."

However, there was someone who was able to see the real Harvey Korman, as well as the real talent he was able to offer, and changed his life. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Korman revealed that he was actually hand-picked based on a suggestion by none other than Carol Burnett herself. Harvey recalled how he was signed to The Carol Burnett Show. Apparently, Burnett was in the process of casting for the new show, and her team had auditioned over thirty "Harvey Korman-types," to no avail. Then, it was Burnett who asked the obvious: "'Why in the world are we going through these headaches, why don't we just get the real Harvey Korman?" Korman went on to spend ten incredible seasons on the show.

Harvey also praised Burnett, saying, "She's aware of other people's needs, a rare trait among the big stars." He also remarked that it was Burnett's kindness that made her an anomaly, and said, "Carol is a uniquely talented woman and an incredibly nice person, especially for a star as successful as she is."

Watch The Carol Burnett Show on MeTV!

Weeknights at 11 PM
Sundays at 10:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
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16 Comments

KentuckyPhil69 5 months ago
Harvey Korman is the most talented yet underrated comedian in history!! Love this man to death!! I crack up 🤣 whenever I think of him!
forthekids 5 months ago
Harvey was not only a talented comedy performer..he had experience as a regular on another tv comedy/variety program:"The Danny Kaye Show".
CoreyC 5 months ago
Harvey Korman was not the typical straight man. He was as funny as Burnett and Conway.
LoveMETV22 5 months ago
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 5 months ago
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Except for Woody.

https://cdnmetv.metv.com/aAH4y-1693239758-MeTV%20Nat%20Sch%203Q23%20Eff.%209-2-23%20E-P.pdf

LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 5 months ago
Maybe a few accessories (add-ons, replacement parts, upgrades) might help in overall performance. LOL!

The only down the road (and well down the road that is) changes seem to be:

Westerns:
Branded (coming spring 2024)
The Guns of Will Sonnett (coming summer 2024)
Anthology:
The Millionaire (coming winter 2024)
via:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_programs_broadcast_by_MeTV

Even there, there's no guaranty. Hopefully they have a few surprises in the works before then.🤞🤞
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 5 months ago
Well. You know. From the history of MeTV (2014+) viewers were so used to changes and variety. But in looking at other providers, whether streaming or not. It's all block programming now. Sundance has the most unique lineup. But not individually so. Meaning, they have a pattern. Which I assume draws in a type of viewer (like a TAGs fan). So they have a block of that like once every 2 weeks. And then do the same pattern for GI. And especially the dramas. Like L&O and NICIS. Maybe 7 episodes in a row, for two weeks apiece. Then that goes away. And they'll do it for Bluebloods. I'm DVR'ing seasons of a particular series. But the scheduling is very predictable, once a viewer gets used to how it's laid out. I probably have about 200 episodes now. Ready for the lean times, when the last of my favorites, disappear. I guess programmers have just figured out how people think about scheduling now.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 5 months ago
"It's all block programming now. Sundance has the most unique lineup."
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And Weigel does an appetizer of that style with CC's weekend Binge. Although on the MeTV side they do follow block- style (and have historically),but not hours or days on end (well with the exception of a few shows M*A*S*H, All in the Family and Saved by the Bell, which some here have expressed dissatisfaction with). But on the whole Weigel has a sizeable library of programs and overlaps some of those programs MeTV>Catchy Comedy(Decades), H&I (a few). That strategy could be just as easily used in the other direction- CC, H&I> MeTV. They don't need to acquire new series, (although that would be nice), just share the other series on MeTV, it would create a sense of variety on all their networks. Just my ₵₵, thanks for listening.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 5 months ago
Just my ₵₵, thanks for listening.
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𝘈𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 good hearing from you!!
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Nice points! I don't get CC (formerly Decades). Affiliates traded Decades for H&I. For me is better.

Catchy Comedy: when in the mood for a smile, CC has a really good lineup. I can see the network holding a viewer all day long!!

Heroes & Icons: Happy A-Team is regular, plus a worthy lineup of Action/Adventure!

MeTV: Given the poor on other channels at that hour. Am used to MASH now.

JMO, Sundays, should share the 8pm block w/ an hour from CC. But MeTV does focus on a particular type of viewer, as with examples of a few other unique choices. Yee Gads, some outlets have the entire NL spinoffs!

Interesting: viewers are 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 missing Columbo and PM Mysteries on Sunday night. Even more curious is that those two series are running easily on Sundance.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 5 months ago
"𝘈𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 good hearing from you!!"
The same sentiment is shared back your way.
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"The part that has me curious is that the program share seems to always go in one direction. It would be just as easy for it to flow back the other way. It's not rocket science. "Some" of the programs on the other networks would fit into one of the categories/genres/blocks/ or w/e one wishes to call it on the MeTV side, as a few of those programs aired on MeTV in the past.

If you combine all of Weigel's networks, they have a good size library of different series. Time to share. But alas I guess they have a formula for each of their networks, not that it always make sense. 🤔
timothys71 Pacificsun 5 months ago
Catchy Comedy (f/k/a Decades) is not available over the air in my area either. Some of the shows on that network have aired on MeTV in the past. I would love it if they could put some of those shows back on MeTV just one night a week.

Columbo is currently airing on Cozi TV on Saturday nights. I recall that a few years back, MeTV had the original 1970's version, and Cozi had the reboot. The contract was up, and the company that owns the distribution rights wanted the whole thing on one network. Cozi won the bidding war, so they now have all of Columbo.
Pacificsun 5 months ago
Not disagreeing with all the good references in the article, or the feelings behind their quotes. But IMO the primary actors and their characters were 𝓿𝓮𝓻𝔂 distinctive and memorable. If viewers couldn't remember "Harvey Korman" and "Tim Conway" then they weren't paying attention to the billing and the credits at the end. However, [ during that time ] I remember TC out of character and interviewed, more than HK. In fact, I can't remember seeing him being himself. Even when CB brought him up stage (rarely) he was very introverted. Like he didn't know 𝒽𝑜𝓌 (or want) to be himself. To me, these stories are very counter to how he presented himself. And the CBS characters he offered were grouped into types. No worries, it worked brilliantly. But that's just how he came across.
Andybandit 5 months ago
HK was a very funny man. I love the skits with CB and TC. Especially the ones with TC, they are so funny.
Runeshaper 5 months ago
Great story! I'm glad that Harvey and Carol worked together and were able to make such Fantastic skits!
LoveMETV22 5 months ago
Interesting article. Always enjoy watching the interview Carol Burnett did with the
"Television Academy Foundation", where she explains the genesis of The Carol Burnett Show and its characters.

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The same interview continues where Carol discusses how she built her cast, (Harvey Korman,
Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway).
CoreyC LoveMETV22 5 months ago
Carol was so generous and respected and loved all her co stars and allowed them to shine.
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