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Carol Burnett on vulgar comedians: 'That's the easiest way to get a laugh'

Sep. 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM ET

Generations of Americans have grown up comedy-deprived thanks to the lack of "The Carol Burnett Show" on TV. Although the comedian's show ran for 11 years, even reruns have been tough to find. Now the drought is over, thanks to "The Carol Burnett Show: Carol's Favorites," a 6-DVD collection curated by the ear-tugging (a salute to her grandmother) redhead herself.

How did she figure out which skits to include? "I have a good memory," the comedian told TODAY's Matt Lauer Monday. 

One of the highlights of many episodes is watching cast member Tim Conway do his utmost to break up eternal straight man and co-star Harvey Korman.

"His goal in life was to destroy Harvey," chuckled Burnett, who added that Conway would do the script "just as we rehearsed it, and the director would get all of his shots," but then they'd go back and re-shoot some scenes. "And then Tim would say, 'OK, now I'm going to have some fun,' and he'd get on a roll....' Harvey was so ticked off at himself because he was a consummate actor."

Today's funnymen and women are hit-and-miss with the legend, though; she worked clean and only appreciates raunchy humor if it comes out of character. "But if it's just gratuitous blue material, that's the easiest way to get a laugh," she said.

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