TODAY   |  October 28, 2013

Tim Conway jokes: I never liked Carol Burnett

Author of a new memoir called “What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life,” six-time Emmy winner Tim Conway tells TODAY’s Matt Lauer what it was like working with the hilarious Carol Burnett and explains how having dyslexia as a child helped launch his comedy career.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> six time emmy winner and making people laugh for decades.

>> actually an afternoon.

>> tim conway is best known for his characters on the carol burnett show which ran from 1967 to '78.

>> wonder --

>> from the mr. tudball and mrs. wiggins sketches to the physical brilliance as a novice dentist with harvey korman and the old man character sketches. conway created memorable moments that on which cracked up his cast mates as much as his audience. his comedic timing and uncanny ability to improper proceed advise have learned him a place in history. he's out with a new memoir. good morning. how are you do something.

>> i thought he passed away some time ago.

>> you look pretty good. do you know what i loved about this story, when you were growing up in cleveland --

>> and fwloe iglowing.

>> you wanted to be a jockey. where did it go wrong?

>> at this weight, the horses ask you to get off. no, i had worked around horses. my dad had worked around horses. he was from ireland. and that was my object in life.

>> when you started in comedy, you had the skill to deliver a punch line. you had that great ability to do physical comedy . but you also had the confidence to get off the script and do a lot of improv. where did that come from?

>> my dyslexia, in. yeah, i had dyslexia. and whenever i got up to read in class, everybody laughed at me. so i thought it was kind of funny to keep it going.

>> you just played with it.

>> yeah. i'm on my way now.

>> there is a chapter in the book you called all roads lead to --

>> there's a book?

>> yeah, i'll hold it up in a second. and it talks about your years with carol burnett . how did it come about?

>> well, i never liked her. she was annoying. i guess she was on the gary moore show and i came to new york to do the gary moore show and she saw me and she said i'm never going to have this guy on my show. and i went out there and i did 32 shows the first year. and she said why don't you be a regular on it. and i said i need that last week off in case i get a guest shot somewhere.

>> in case something better comes along. did you have a favorite character?

>> i think dorf kind of did it for me, yeah. because it was so stupid, you know.

>> you do have a lover for golf, so that came in handy.

>> yeah.

>> when you look at young performers these days, do you have advice for them, do you have something you think could help them be successful?

>> i hope not. because they would be doing our job and we're out on the street looking into these windows.

>> some of your famous friends were kind enough to write blurbs. from bob newhart , i couldn't put the book down. and don rickles , a good friend and terrific writer. settle back in a chair and enjoy the writing of tim conway . it's worth reading because he mentions me. it's always about them. do you notice that?

>> of course.

>> do you have a favorite era of your career, a favorite moment of your career?

>> no. but --

>> nothing stands out?

>> yes, i do. i think the burnett years working with harvey, because he was such a poor performer. and --

>> he made you look better.

>> yes. i took advantage of him. he really believed everything you said.

>> helps to have a --

>> and i surprised him quite a bit during sketches.

>> you surprised everybody. i love the fact you were so willi willing to ad lib and improv. and you get to relive some wonderful times.

>> thank you so much. i was always good at ad libbing . so --

>> we'll leave it at that. again, the book is "what's