Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tim Conway was equally great as the straight man in Carol Burnett’s “Mrs. Wiggins” sketches

Tim Conway died today at the age of 85, leaving behind a decades-long history of sketch-inspired laughs. After starting out on the sitcom McHale’s Navy, Conway became best-known for his stint on the legendary Carol Burnett Show, where he was famous for over-the-top characters like the world’s oldest fireman and a dentist who shoots his own leg with novocaine.


But Conway, a generous and gifted performer, was always willing to share the spotlight with someone else—like his co-star Carol Burnett, in the beloved series of “Mrs. Wiggins” sketches. She plays an absent-minded secretary while he’s her toupéed, Swedish-accented boss, Mr. Tudball. “The Intercom… Again” is one of the finest examples of the pair’s comedic chemistry, as the two face off through a series of miscommunications—until they wind up switching places entirely, even mimicking each other’s elaborately extended voices and bizarrely angled postures. Conway can’t help killing it even with a throwaway line, like when Burnett’s Mrs. Wiggins takes a while to reach his office: “You’re a regular Jesse Owens.”

“The Intercom” is the hilarious zenith of two comedic legends. And if you like this one, there are a bunch more (like “The Vacation” and “The Vending Machine”) on The Carol Burnett Show’s official YouTube channel. 

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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