"I'm so glad we had this time together Just to have a laugh or sing a song Seems we just get started and before you know it Comes the time we have to say, 'So long.'"
A hit sketch comedy show on CBS, running for 11 seasons (1967-1978). The show followed a very simple format of comedy sketches, TV and movie parodies, and musical numbers. What set it apart was how off the wall the actors and writers would take things. Basically anything went as long as it was funny (and could air on TV, of course). Many also consider it to be the first comedy variety show centered around a woman.The regular cast included Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway among others. One of the more popular sketches spun off into Mama's Family.
Corpsing: Tim Conway was notorious for breaking up the others on the show. In many of the sketches featuring Conway and Harvey Korman, it was all Korman could do to get through it without collapsing. And keep in mind, it wasn't like this was live: the show was taped. Conway was just that funny. Causing Carol Burnett herself to lose it was a major feat, but Conway accomplished it several times. (Here, for instance.)
It got to the point that the cast would have a weekly pool to see how long it would take Tim Conway to make someone (mainly Harvey Korman) break character.
Once in a while, Carol or Vicki would get even with Tim by making him corpse... for example, during the "Flasher" sketch, which was less an actual sketch than a giant prank on Tim.
In a Behind The Scenes special Carol mentioned they would tape the show twice, and use the copy with the lesser amount of corpsing.
Costume Porn: Bob Mackie did virtually all the outfits on the show, from the grand to the silly.
Early-Installment Weirdness: "The Family". Any Mama's Family fans unfamiliar with the sketches are likely to be surprised at Mama's nastier demeanor (though it did continue into Mama's Family's early episodes) and much of the focus being on Eunice, who's presented here as more sympathetic. Also, in addition to Eunice and Ellen, a number of other Harper children are introduced, but are never seen again, most notably Philip Harper (Roddy McDowall), who was originally the focus of the first sketch.
Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: "Went With the Wind" has a running gag in which Sissy panics about everything, until Starlet slaps her. Eventually, Sissy slaps herself to calm down. At the end of the sketch, Starlet starts panicking, until Sissy slaps her.
Girl Scouts Are Evil: A recurring sketch with Carol playing a girl scout who blackmails people into buying lots of cookies. One of those people being played by Vincent Price.
Inept Talent Show Contestant: As mentioned, Eunice has a spot on The Gong Show and is so convinced that her singing talent will be her ticket away from her family that she does a lot of bridge-burning before the show. Bad idea.
Stop Trick: In one sketch, Carol Burnett plays a bored housewife trying to crash a party next door. She goes into the bedroom in a bathrobe and curlers, and seconds later emerges completely dressed, coiffed, and made-up. Slightly averted in that the camera angle did change, but the effect was the same.
Syndication Title: Carol Burnett and Friends, which edited the shows down to a half-hour by omitting the musical numbers.
Til Murder Do Us Part: Played straight and/or parodied in several sketches, including this one. Most of these attempts go as well as you'd expect.
Title Drop: Twice in the Gone With the Wind parody.