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.

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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! 

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MichaelVegas 19 months ago
I always enjoy when professionals break character I mean even on Saturday night live when they do it I love it and laugh so much more, but nothing could make me laugh more then these 2
L 19 months ago
I need to bed early. Therefore, I haven't seen the show in many years.
I do not recall this sketch.
lighthouse5 20 months ago
Our family always love Carol and her cast. Very funny. Thank you. I wish I could have met them.I would like to meet Carol, or have her call me. 🙏♥️🙋 Charlotte in Oregon
Pacificsun CharSchreffler 20 months ago
Welcome! Sounds like you might be a new follower, but apologies if that's the not the case!

At least in my marketplace, I can't think of another Variety Show which has survived the test of time, namely 44 years. The Show had such a distinct look to it, especially fashions and costuming, even the Sets were just enough to support the comedy of a sketch. Clever and functional, but never distracting. We attended the taping in person, and what struck me was how colorful everything was. But it was a warm and welcoming environment. Can't remember the Guest Star because CB was naturally the main attraction. She might've had people from the audience go up on stage. But it was a busy hour of taping with a lot going on, and being fascinated by the stage production itself.

I can't imagine how proud CB must be, not only among few survivors, but a legacy that was as relevant to its times, just as it now. And that's because honest, genuinely earned comedy is timeless!

Here's a link with more to offer, if you haven't already found it.
F5Twitster 20 months ago
"Korman tries to contain his laughter, but it gets progressively more difficult..."

"Progressively more" = really, REALLY redundant. The writer is clearly trying to sound sophisticated, but all he or she manages to do is come across as pretentious.

Next time, just say gets MORE difficult, and leave it at that.
Pacificsun F5Twitster 20 months ago
Curiously, who's benefitting from the suggestion. The author who's moved on to doing more research, a quota, deadlines, writing another clever angle. Or the sidelines who've learned what you know.
LoveMETV22 F5Twitster 20 months ago
Have to agree with Pacificsun. Perception is a double edged sword, especially when pointed in one direction. There are points that are clear, however it's not the writer that is trying to sound sophisticated or being pretentious.
LalaLucy 20 months ago
Always one of my favorite sketches. Really, any time you got these two together, you knew you were going to be treated to something timelessly hilarious. In addition to this, I eagerly look forward to any of the Old Man sketches. Tim gets that twinkle in his eye and you know he is going off-script into comedy gold. They don't make them like these guys anymore.
kb7rky 20 months ago
It was always a treat to see Tim make Harvey "corpse" during the course of the show. They were a true comedy duo ;)
MsRockford74 20 months ago
One of my favorite parts of the show as a whole is seeing the actors trying not to break during the sketch..and then busting out laughing :)
AlbertHanson 20 months ago
I read that Conway and Korman continually tried to see who could get the other to break up laughing on The Carol Burnett Show. This doesn't surprise me about Korman wetting himself during one of the skits. Even 50 years later their comedic genius is just as fresh and funny as it was then. I can't stop laughing when MeTV airs reruns of The Carol Burnett Show.
Moody 20 months ago
Not at all surprised to learn that Harvey Korman wet himself during this sketch. Tim Conway was so funny & spontaneous it would've been hard not to crack in skits like this. It's something did so many times & so well on the show.
Pacificsun Moody 20 months ago
Agreed! So talented, so humble. I think he wasn't noticed (except by the CB crew) as much as he should've been during that age, and compared to other comediennes. I read where he was one of the few (if any) allowed to improv on the show, in the moment. And the accompanying actors didn't know where he was headed. That is a 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩 compliment to the actor, where the director puts his faith into his talent in that way. Because they only had 2 days to shoot including a rehearsal and then with a live audience on Friday. And then had to move on, planning for the next week's show.
Pacificsun 20 months ago
Because of the MeTV writer including the context of the sketch (i.e., how the dentist was newly out of school, reading from a manual to perform the procedure, etc.) I didn't remember all that. And had to look it up. So the original sketch runs 9.17 and is why Korman, by the time he's in the dental chair, and Conway gets to his main "bit" is already falling apart with laughter.

Now that the current Carol Burnett show is syndicated into a half-hour format, I don't think we get to see the entire sketch, all the time. But it does explain a lot.

Per the YT interview, it's also interesting to watch Tim Conway, as himself. Naturally very funny, with that innate timing. The YT references "8 years ago" but that's usually from the date of posting the YT, so it's hard to tell which is the year of the interview. It would be nice to know Tim Conway's age at that point. And how many years retired from the CB show.

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BuckeyeBeth Bricat2001 20 months ago
That’s very nice to know since often I see the actors at the end credits signing Carols autograph book and doing their closing applause thing in costumes that weren’t in any of the skits.
I’ve often wondered how long the show actually ran before cutting it up into half hour episodes. I was starting to think they might have originally been 2 hour episodes.

I do have decades so I’ll have to check out their schedule again.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 20 months ago
Thanks for the above Like. I see you got the point. And it might be Wiseguy reinvented.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 20 months ago
Yes. Perhaps WG, just in a different form.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 20 months ago
I didn't know! 🎁 I nice share!
Pacificsun 20 months ago
It's so frustrating when a hyperlink isn't included in the reference to the point of the story. So it's added below. [ This comment is continued below ]

Moody Pacificsun 20 months ago
Thanks for the share!
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 20 months ago
TY, TY. Love the dentist skit but the Conan clip is a treat.
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