Vicki Lawrence credits this famous blooper as ''unleashing the monster'' of Mama's character

"I don't know if they were relieved that Vicki had finally cut loose!"

What's the best Carol Burnett Show sketch? That's not a question with an easy answer, even for the biggest fans of the show. Some will point to "The Dentist", where Tim Conway famously made Harvey Korman wet himself from laughter as Conway flailed around as an inept dentist who kept accidentally numbing parts of his body. Others will say "Went with the Wind!", the Gone With The Wind parody where Carol donned her now-iconic curtain dress. 

There's no shortage of great Carol Burnett sketches. But a lot of people would say that their favorite sketch was one that didn't air at all — "The Elephant Story" blooper. The clip has over 38 million views on YouTube. Conway, who would deliberately go off-script to try and make Harvey Korman break, plays an employee of Mama's son-in-law. The family is trying to play Password, when Conway goes on a long, rambling (and different each time) story about an elephant at a circus.

Conway already has most of the cast, including Carol Burnett, cracking up, but Vicki Lawrence delivers the final punch. Without breaking character, Lawrence says "Are you sure that little [expletive]'s through?" which sends both Conway and Dick Van Dyke rolling on the floor with laughter.

"When I was young... I didn't feel like I'd earned the privilege [to break character]," Lawrence said in an interview with The Archive of American Television. "I didn't feel like it was my place. I was still learning! It took me well into that run to embrace the 'go ahead and have fun with it' concept."

"The Elephant Sketch" changed things. "It was really the first time that Mama spoke out, I believe. And it unleashed a monster."

That fateful day, Lawrence was in her dressing room for the break between dress rehearsal and the show. The director would often drop by during this time to give notes. That day, he told Lawrence "I have just one note. The Elephant Story will be different, and good luck."

Lawrence complained to her makeup artist, "How does Tim get away with this stuff?". Her makeup artist simply replied, "Get 'em."

Then the fateful taping happened, and Tim Conway soon had everyone crying with laughter. Lawrence took the note from the director and the advice from her makeup artist and finally snapped back at Conway in the now-famous line.

"The cameras were jiggling and everybody was just... I don't know if they were relieved that Vicki had finally cut loose!"

As the millions of people who love that sketch can attest, we're all glad that Vicki cut loose! Oh, and the makeup artist who advised her to fire back at Conway? Al Schultz, who Lawrence has been married to since 1974.

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wallyandbagfan 1 month ago
Victims Of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome :
BUZZ and SONYA on Mama's Family .
Buzz was played by Eric Brown and
Sonya was played by Karin Argoud .
I never heard an explanation on why
Buzz and Sonya Vanished With No explanation. Bubba *Allan Kayser) shows up on Mama's Family in 1986 and none of the characters did whatever happened to Buzz and Sonya.
I wonder why Vinton Harper never said a
Whatever happened to Buzz and Sonya?
Just like Angela Brown (Ann Marshall) on
My Favorite Martian and Bag Zombroski
(NEIL J SCHWARTZ) AND Chuck Cunningham (Gavan O'HERLIHY and Randolph Roberts) and Moose (Barry Greenberg) Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel)
And Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein) and
Spike Danny Butch of Happy Days and
VPL Nick Cuccinelli (Tommy Leonetti )
And Cpl Boyle (Roy Stuart ) and Sgt
Whipple (BUCK YOUNG) pf Gomer Pyle USMC and Chester Anderson (Buddy
Hart) and Tooey Brown (Tiger Fafara)and Judy Hensler (Jeri Weil) and Larry
Mondello (Rusty Stevens) And Bill
Scott (David Kent ) of Leave It To
Beaver and Warren Ferguson (Jack Burns)Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue)
Peggy McMillan (Joanna Moore )
And Flora Mallorby (Alberta Nelson)
And Mayor Roy Stoner (Parley Baer ) and
Ed Sawyer (William Lanteau) and Lucy
Mathews (Marlene Willis ) and Lana
Shields (Ann Wedgworth ) and Cindy
Snow (Jenilee Harrison ) of Threes
Company :There was No explanation
About what happened to these TV
Characters and all of these TV Characters VANISHED INTO THIN AIR..
DEFINITELY DESERVE AN EXPLANATION on Why zllof these TV Characters disappeared with no explanation.
It only takes one short sentence or one
Throwaway Line to give an explanation on why allow the characters that I mentioned VANISHED FROM THEIR TV
Character is no longer on TV SHOW
Only takes a minute or less to say.
Also on Petticoat Junction there was no explanation on whatever happened to Hooterville Residents and Billie Jo's (Jeanne Riley) boyfriends Herbie Bates (Don Washbrook) and Junior Hocker (Russell Horton ) who both vanished from Hooterville with no Explanation. ON Green Acres Roy Trendell (Robert Foulk) Vanished from Green Acres with ni explanation buy after Newt Kiley
(Kay Kuter) left Green Acres at the end of season 5 the residents of
Hooterville still talked about Newt
Kiley on season 6 of Green Acres
Even though Newt Kiley no longer appeared on Green Acres.
JoeCopenhaver 1 month ago
All of the shows were so entertaining. All of the guest stars and cast members brought all of us so much joy in watching each week - and in the reruns over the years. A little blooper here and there made it so much better, in seeing Harvey break character - or others flub a line but keep going. In the end of each episode, the guest star(s) would sign Carol's book - I wonder where that book(s) went? They would be so exciting to see preproduced and available to buy. She has a GREAT collection of autographs!
I have Carol's book about the making of TCBS! I believe she still has it! Carol started collecting autographs as a child!
Nala92129 1 month ago
One of my favorite episodes was with Jerry Reed, playing "Leonard Oates," Naomi's ex-husband. Hilarious!
Zip Nala92129 1 month ago
Mine too!
Then again, most Mama's Family episodes are my favorite."
CoreyC 1 month ago
cperrynaples CoreyC 1 month ago
That was the last season since Dick Van Dyke was in this episode! Fun Fact: Carol got her revenge by telling her own elephant story in another sketch with Tim!
CoreyC cperrynaples 1 month ago
Harvey Korman left The Carol Burnett Show.
cperrynaples CoreyC 1 month ago
YEP, he signed a deal with ABC for his own sitcom! Ironically, it featured Dick's son Barry!
StrayCat 1 month ago
Lots of timeless sketches and it's difficult to try to rate one over another, but in my mind the best Carol Burnett Show sketch was a kind of series within a series: "As the Stomach Turns". I think there were something like 18 or 20 of those episodes.
Andybandit 1 month ago
MF is so funny. From Thelma's remarks, to the clothes the characters wear on the show.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
When I read the headline, I knew you were going to go to the Siamese elephants! That's the most famous mistake of TCBS! Coming in a close second is when the cow did her "duty" while Carol was singing!
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cperrynaples Coldnorth 1 month ago
Yea, well you know we're not allowed to talk about those functions on this board! This AIN'T Twitter and i'm so glad it's not...LOL!
cperrynaples Coldnorth 1 month ago
PS Can anyone find Carol and the cow? I couldn't find it on You Tube!
Coldnorth cperrynaples 1 month ago
Lol I’m happy the way this is board set up. I am kind of old fashioned, no twitter, gram or. Fb. I will try to find the cow and Carol. Sounds like a hoot.
LeeWithers cperrynaples 1 month ago
It wasn't a cow. It was a horse. (At 7:04 into this video)
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