Remembering Tim Conway
Sorry to hear about the passing of Tim Conway whose work I loved -- though I suspect I'm not alone. He was 85. I don't have much of a story about crossing paths with him, it was only once and very brief. I was a few years out of UCLA grad school and visiting CBS Television City on some work-related appointment. I got on the elevator, and Tim Conway was on, as well. I've always been pretty low-key about stargazing, but still this was Tim Conway whose work I loved. So, for me, I went all out and nodded with a smile. And he gave a nice, warm greeting back. It's not much to convey, I know, and it's hard to get across, but this actually stood out to me all these years -- not for the nod, but because I've dealt with enough celebrities over time, and even an brief exchange this brief and minimalistic was actually very warm and friendly. From what I've later hear over the years, that was not surprising in the slightest.
For all his work on TV and in movies acting with others, Conway was probably best known for his sketches with Harvey Corman. It wasn't just because they were so good together, but because it was difficult for Corman to keep a straight face, and much of the fun was seeing how long he could go before breaking.
Here's a sketch they did later in their career, live at some event. What stands out is how long both of them, but Conway in particular, are able to stretch out something as simple as buying a ticket, and keep it funny. What also stands out is the musicians -- who tend to be jaded, having seen it all -- behind them laughing, And as much as Korman is able to make it through the sketch in one piece, yes, he does fight to keep from breaking a few times. Without full success.
And okay, here's a bonus. It's Tim Conway and Harvey Korman's most-famous sketch, 'The Dentist' on The Carol Burnett Show. Famous (again) not just for being funny, but for Korman's eventual inability to keep from laughing at Conway and his struggles trying not to.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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