Did you know Harvey Korman was briefly fired from The Carol Burnett Show?
For years, Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman collectively made millions of people laugh on a regular basis, from their improv to scripted content on The Carol Burnett Show.
Korman is known for breaking character often, as he struggled to hold back his laughs on the show, which made the skits all the more funny. When Korman began to chuckle, it often lead the others on stage to do the same and from time to time, the entire cast of The Carol Burnett Show would break character.
Though Burnett and Korman had a great relationship and many years of laughs, success and good times on The Carol Burnett Show, one instance nearly prevented all those memories from being made.
Harvey Korman had his struggles with being an actor, and one day his emotions got to him while on set. In 2016, Carol Burnett appeared on TODAY to promote her book, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox. One of the details in the book was how she had to give Korman a very direct wake-up.
"Harvey was wonderful, there's no question about it," Burnett said. "Sometimes he'd be in a mood, but we could always get him out of it... Then this one day, we were rehearsing and he was not a happy camper and he was a little snappy with our guests."
Burnett said she could handle a little sass or "snap" herself, but wouldn't tolerate it for her guests. According to The List, Burnett wrote in her book, "Our guests that week were Tim [Conway], who had not yet joined the cast as a regular, and Petula Clark, two of the nicest people in showbiz."
"That night after the show I went into his dressing room," Burnett said on TODAY, to ask Korman why he was acting the way he was. "He said, 'well you know I'm just not happy here.' I said 'OK, don't come back.'"
After Burnett said, on a Friday, that he was welcome to leave and not return, Korman backtracked. Burnett ultimately gave him another chance, but there was an ultimatum; he needed to be more positive at work. Naturally, Burnett had something in mind.
She told him, "'When I see you Monday morning I want you to whistle and skip down the hallway at CBS,'" Burnett explained with a laugh.
"That Monday, I'm walking towards the elevator... It opened and Harvey came out, we kind of looked at each other and he started whistling and skipping down the hall. I howled. Finally, I had a plaque made that I put on his dressing room door that said 'Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky.'"
While Korman was never actually "fired," Burnett was very serious when she said "don't come back." So much so, she stated in her book that she called Korman's agent and made him aware of the situation, so if anything further needed to happen, it would be documented.
It's safe to say Korman got the message (and a new decoration for his dressing room door), and no further steps were taken. The cast of The Carol Burnett Show went on to have the ultra-successful run it is known for today.
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