Andy Griffith bombed on The Ed Sullivan Show
Even the famous Andy Griffith had a few stumbles along the way.
Every loyal Andy Griffith fan knows about his breakout standup routine, "What It Was, Was Football". The recording of his act as a bumbling southern preacher discovering this fancy newfangled game hit No. 9 on the Billboard pop charts in 1954. Heck, he was discovered when his agent heard the routine on the radio.
But did you know that the routine was not a hit everywhere?
In 1954, Andy Griffith appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. This was the same year that "What It Was, Was Football" topped the charts. It should have been a hit, right? Well, it didn't quite work out like that.
"I don’t really remember the appearance," Griffith later said about his time on Sullivan. "All I remember is I walked out and I never got a laugh, not one.”
The lackluster response led to his three further scheduled appearances on the show to be cancelled. "[Sullivan] asked out of the other three [performances] and I was only too glad to let him out," Griffith said.
If you watch the clip, you can see that maybe Andy was his own harshest critic. It might not have been the laugh riot Andy expected, but there weren't zero laughs. In fact, you can hear quite a few.
Nevertheless, you can't keep a good Griffith down. Six years later, The Andy Griffith Show hit TV screens, and the rest is history.