Tim Conway says dyslexia led him to a life in comedy

Image: Tim Conway

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By Ree Hines

Tim Conway's name is synonymous with comedy, but the venerable funnyman didn't plan to go into the business of laughs.

As he recounts in his new memoir, "What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life," Conway first planned to become a jockey. 

"At this weight, actually the horses ask you to get off," he joked during a Monday morning visit to TODAY.

But seriously, he insisted that riding was his "object in life." At least until his school days led him in another direction.

"I had dyslexia, and whenever I got up to read in class, everybody laughed at me," Conway explained. "So I thought it was kind of funny to keep it going."

So he did, and the laughter eventually led him to comedienne Carol Burnett.

"Well, I never liked her," Conway deadpanned when the topic turned to the woman who invited him to be part of her variety-sketch show.

He first appeared on "The Carol Burnett Show" in 1967, during its first season, and went on to become a regular in 1975. He earned two Emmy Awards for his work on the series before it came to an end in 1978.

Conway recalls those days in his memoir, and according to other comedians, it's a must-read.

"I couldn't put the book down," Bob Newhart said in a blurb for the book's cover. "It was very clever of Tim to put glue on each page."

Don Rickles was equally enthralled, noting in his blurb, "It's worth reading because he mentioned me."

"What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life" hits shelves Oct. 29.