Tim Conway confirmed he made Harvey Korman wet himself during The Dentist sketch on Carol Burnett
Conway said, 'My object[ive] was to find places in the sketch where I knew I could break up Harvey.' Mission accomplished.
Favorite shows, scenes and episodes vary across millions of fans who love classic television. One person could love a show for the same reason another doesn't like it all that much. With so many choices to pick from, it's no surprise people have long debated what the best show of their respective era was. What the best dramatic scene was. What the funniest sketch was.
However, there are a few examples when most people agree. "The Dentist" sketch on The Carol Burnett Show, featuring Tim Conway and Harvey Korman is widely regarded as one of the best sketches and most comical scenes in television history.
Conway plays the role of a very scared and nervous dentist who just graduated school. He's set to treat his very first patient, Harvey Korman.
The sketch begins with Conway trying to delay the inevitable; actually beginning work on the patient. There's some good humor in the first few minutes of the sketch, as Conway refers to his dentist manual several times over. The laughs really kick in when Conway accidentally sticks himself with a Novocain shot.
It is here when the live audience and the viewers watching on television can see Harvey begin to break character and laugh. Korman tries to contain his laughter, but it gets progressively more difficult when Conway takes the Novocain, with his now numb hand, and jabs himself in the leg, then eventually again in his head!
At some point or another, Korman was cracking up so much while trying to hold it back, something happened.
"He actually wet his pants," Tim Conway said in a 2013 interview with Conan. Conway, in a light-hearted manner joked he was "proud of that" outcome. The sketch hit the air in 1969 and has resonated with countless fans in the decades since.
In 1979, Conway told the Knight News Service, "I always end up laughing at that sketch because of Harvey... He was just standing there in total tears, trying to continue with the sketch. That, to me, is funny."
Upon watching the sketch, you'll see why Korman cracked and the eventual result played out.
Conway said in a Q+A with the Dear Doctor magazine that the idea of Novocain "was a surprise to [Korman]; he hadn't seen that part of the sketch until we were taping."
Though it was a taping of the sketch, the feel was very real, which is exactly what Carol Burnett wanted when it eventually hit the airwaves.
"The sketch was taped the actual way we performed it. Carol always wanted the show to have a 'live' feel to it so we left in everything as it happened."
Conway says people loved the sketch, and he achieved his own personal goal during taping.
"My object[ive] was to find places in the sketch where I knew I could break up Harvey. I don't think I ever missed."
We're willing to bet Conway didn't know he'd break up Korman that much!