Mel Brooks: Working with Harvey Korman was ''very dangerous''

Korman could crack anybody.

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Carol Burnett threw this hilarious ’’curve ball’’ at Harvey Korman
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Harvey Korman was the absolute lifeblood of The Carol Burnett Show. No other performer in history could so convincingly portray both the "stooge" character and the "voice of reason" character. In a comedy world filled with double-acts, Korman could be the Jerry Lewis or the Dean Martin of any given scene. He could be authoritative. He could be silly. He could be both at the same time.

He was a crucial lynchpin to any ensemble that would have him. When he left The Carol Burnett Show, many cited his departure as a key reason for the show's cancellation. When he left this mortal coil, he left behind a great comedy legacy and a long list of collaborators and friends.

Mel Brooks was among the comedy luminaries who eulogized Korman in the wake of the latter's passing. Together, they'd starred in Brooks' Blazing Saddles, widely considered one of the greatest comedy movies of all time. While co-stars Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder carried a bulk of the movie's story, Korman's conniving politician character was a laugh every time he was onscreen.

"A world without Harvey Korman—it's a more serious world," Brooks told the Associated Press in 2008.

"It was very dangerous for me to work with him because if our eyes met, we'd crash to the floor in comic ecstasy."

Brooks wasn't alone. Countless Carol Burnett Show sketches were very nearly derailed because of how funny Korman was. Whether it was Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, or Burnett herself, nobody was immune to Korman's uncanny ability to crack a co-star during a scene.

"It was comedy heaven to make Harvey Korman laugh," said Brooks.

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12 Comments

Beatseeker 11 days ago
all were great, but let us not forget slim pickins..." piss on you, i work for mel brooks!" ... movie was golden from begining to end, with many lines quoted to this day...
Avie 13 days ago
You might also mention that Korman had actually been a dramatic actor until switching to comedy full time in the mid-1960s.

And re "[Korman] was a crucial lynchpin to any ensemble that would have him."

The word is spelled LINCHPIN.
SteveMcnary 13 days ago
Crowd"Count da money, Count da money".
Harvey Korman-"That's DeMonet"
From Mel Brook's History Of The World Part I
Henderson SteveMcnary 12 days ago
I loved him in that movie. I don't think there was a Part 2, was there? Too bad.
FloridaTopCat 15 days ago
"Blazing Saddles" needed Harvey Korman as much as Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, or in fact, anyone else in the cast. It was the perfect movie, and even Mel Brooks says he could never make what he did in 1974 in the 21st century!
That's because of these PC times. It must be remembered that none other than Richard Pryor was one of the screenwriters and that even he insisted that the language used was essential, because that was the way they talked and thought at the time the movie took place. I understand and acknowledge the fact that the word itself is disruptive and insulting, but Pryor was right.
Cliffystones musicman37 13 days ago
But they're still not taking the Irish!
JohnGrant FloridaTopCat 13 days ago
Same goes for many TV shows and movies from the 60's and 70's where an occasional rude word is cut out now or scene edited. People weren't as sensitive/offended by slurs back then.
Runeshaper 15 days ago
Harvey Korman was FANTASTIC! Loved him in Blazing Saddles!
Big3Fan Runeshaper 15 days ago
That's Hedley!
Pacificsun 15 days ago
Especially one of the nice things about watching MeTV's hand-picked classic series, repeatedly. Combined with their stories, gives the chance to watch for little things metioned. I assumed the situation was more in reverse, so this reference is good to know. Because I never felt he was doing it intentionally, as was Tim Conway.

"Nobody was immune to Korman's uncanny ability to crack (up) a co-star during a scene."
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