TODAY | October 13, 2012
>>> 45 years ago this fall, a variety show made its debut and captivated audiences. with its quick wit, sketch comedy and a long list of characters, "the carol burnett show " became must-see tv for audiences every week. she's one of america's favorite funny ladies. with an ensemble cast and an all-star guest list, "the carol burnett show " ran for 11 seasons and made household names out of burnett, vicki lawrence , and tim conway . there will be people like me who remember the show, who watch it for nostalgia purposes. but if you were going to have your kids watch it, i want you to sit down and watch this show, "the carol burnett show ," it's kind of like what?
>> well, i would hope that they would say we remember this show and we used to laugh when we were kids and we think you will still laugh. you'll get it.
>> it was such fun. i mean, i'm surprised we got away with what we did.
>> i would say please watch this, this is the end of a golden age of television and it was classic.
>> the variety show earned more than two dozen emmy awards and captivated audiences with its sketches, musical numbers, and memorable characters.
>> who was your favorite character that you played?
>> i loved doing all the movie parodies. i really loved doing that. because i grew up in the '40s and '50s going to the movies.
>> the gown is gorgeous.
>> thank you. i saw it in the window and i just couldn't resist it.
>> and then i guess my other favorites were mrs. wiggins , which tim created.
>> tell me how mrs. wiggins came about.
>> mrs. wiggins was just an incompetent fluke which was my secretary.
>> she couldn't work the intercom.
>> or the phone.
>> or anything.
>> don't press that button --
>> mr. tudball, how did that character come about?
>> my grandparents were romanians so i heard a lot of romanian talk at dinner on sundays. talked like this and a lot of things that you never knew what you were saying.
>> you think you understand the way this works here?
>> and then there was mama, who was originally written for carol burnett .
>> where the hell you been?
>> don't start up, mama.
>> mama was written for you, two of the writers on the show, both of whom hated their mothers. they wrote this beautiful homage to their dysfunctional family. carol would always read the script before we did and she read this beautiful sketch and said i want to be eunice. and she said i think vicki should play mama. and they were like but --
>> does mama still exist in your world?
>> are you kidding me? she's on the road, lester. i got that gal out on the road doing her own show.
>> another beloved member of the cast, the late harvey korman .
>> thanks, buddy, i needed that.
>> tim, you and harvey sometimes would be in these moments where it's like how are they keeping it together? and sometimes you wouldn't.
>> harvey was a very poor performer, as we know. i don't know what he was thinking yet. my object in doing the show was to break up harvey . and for 11 years, i did that.
>> want to see quarter to three?
>> the dentist.
>> ah. well, harvey had never seen the novocain part of it, so he had no idea that i was going to immobilize myself with novocain. so when i punched my head, my arm, he actually wet his pants. if you watch the sketch very carefully, you can pretty much tell.
>> you're kidding.
>> the ground breaking show raised the bar for decades of comedians to come. and 45 years later, these icons are still proving they can deliver on queue.
>> still got it?
>> the ear?
>> you don't want to hear that again. oh, okay. aahhhh!
>> that will be enough. thank you.
>> the curmudgeon of the crowd. still got it.
>> i was in the company of comedic genius there. the dvd box set to commemorate the 45th anniversary of "the carol burnett show " is now for sale.
>> okay, christmas gift.
>> just look at those clips, it's like wow, what a great show that was.
>> smart comedy at the time. and you know when something is so special you're welcome get that dvd box set and you will laugh exactly like someone did those many years ago.
>> nobody does that anymore.