Whatever happened to television sketch comedy? Nowadays you really only find it on late-night TV shows such as Saturday Night Live or Mad TV. But for years before the format was marginalized into the fringes of televised programming, you could enjoy examples any night of the week. From the earliest days of the medium right up into the early '80s, there were always plenty of showcases for five-to-15-minute-long pieces that would set up a premise, explore its comedic potential and get out of the way before it got old. Variety shows were hosted by the likes of Jackie Gleason, Sid Caesar, Flip Wilson, Sonny and Cher, and the best of the bunch, Carol Burnett. Burnett's show ran for a dozen years on CBS back in the days when only three networks ruled the airwaves. In those pre-cable years, she was never out of the top 10.
A lot of the credit for that success has to go to her excellent cast, chief among them solid all-purpose comedic leading man Harvey Korman and the wonderfully silly Tim Conway. These two past masters of the form will be performing live this coming Saturday for two shows at ASU's Sundome Center in Sun City West. "Together Again" features many of the classic bits from the Burnett days along with new standup routines performed both solo and together. Comic impersonator Louise DuArt will also be on hand to help out in sketches, portraying, among others, Carol Burnett herself.
Tim Conway is often remembered as the somewhat muddled young ensign on the long-running '60s comedy McHale's Navy. He also went on to host his own variety show and to star in three situation comedies. His movie work features five children's comedies, which he starred in as well as wrote. And he's also a bit of a pioneer in the world of home video. In the early days of the format, he began turning out mock instructional tapes featuring a rather clumsy character by the name of Dorf. Such titles as Dorf on Golf and Dorf Goes Fishing have racked up sales in the millions.
Korman's long and varied career includes stints on TV's Danny Kaye and Carol Burnett shows. He can be seen in such movies as the Mel Brooks classics Blazing Saddles and High Anxiety. But true entertainment immortality came when he provided the voice for the Flintstones' mischievous Martian pal The Great Gazoo!
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"Tim Conway and Harvey Korman Together Again" will be performed at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 22, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Call 480-975-1900 (the 'dome) or 480-503-5555 (Dillard's) for details.