Mel Brooks: Working with Harvey Korman was ''very dangerous''

Harvey Korman was the absolute lifeblood of The Carol Burnett Show. No other performer in history could so convincingly portray both the "stooge" character and the "voice of reason" character. In a comedy world filled with double-acts, Korman could be the Jerry Lewis or the Dean Martin of any given scene. He could be authoritative. He could be silly. He could be both at the same time.

He was a crucial lynchpin to any ensemble that would have him. When he left The Carol Burnett Show, many cited his departure as a key reason for the show's cancellation. When he left this mortal coil, he left behind a great comedy legacy and a long list of collaborators and friends.

Mel Brooks was among the comedy luminaries who eulogized Korman in the wake of the latter's passing. Together, they'd starred in Brooks' Blazing Saddles, widely considered one of the greatest comedy movies of all time. While co-stars Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder carried a bulk of the movie's story, Korman's conniving politician character was a laugh every time he was onscreen.

"A world without Harvey Korman—it's a more serious world," Brooks told the Associated Press in 2008.

"It was very dangerous for me to work with him because if our eyes met, we'd crash to the floor in comic ecstasy."

Brooks wasn't alone. Countless Carol Burnett Show sketches were very nearly derailed because of how funny Korman was. Whether it was Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, or Burnett herself, nobody was immune to Korman's uncanny ability to crack a co-star during a scene.

"It was comedy heaven to make Harvey Korman laugh," said Brooks.