Did you know Harvey Korman was briefly fired from The Carol Burnett Show?

Burnett felt she had to send a message to Korman, and it's safe to say he got it.

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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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52 Comments

StrayCat 17 months ago
I always wondered why ME TV decided to air the condensed half hour Carol Burnett shows instead of the complete hour long ones. I used to think it was due to licensing issues of songs and such like the issues with WKRP. But there's another channel in my TV lineup that does indeed show the one hour edition of Carol Burnett. The half hour version omits a lot of really good stuff.
Pacificsun StrayCat 17 months ago
So the half hour episodes are arranged to spotlight the shorter skits, and usually omit the musical guests. Packaging material to fit an accurate running time is tough, but the CB Enterprise does so, which has worked out all these years. In this marketplace, TCBS is strategically run opposite the local Evening News. For people who'd rather have a pick-me-up before bed, than something depressing. Then they run in Perry Mason right after to discourage viewers from Late Night Talk Shows. And keep them connected with TZ and the AHH. By then, viewers are too tired to care. Unless they like the overnight lineup (like myself).
robert 17 months ago
I never warmed up to the Carol Burnett Show. They sort of did the same thing over and over for 11 seasons there. I get there was nothing else on Saturday nights at 10 PM then or even now.
KirwoodDerby robert 17 months ago
I agree that in the late sixties and very early seventies the Saturday (and Sunday) night tv line-ups were not very kid friendly. The Carol Burnett Show was the last funny entry until Monday evening after the new week had begun. As the years went by her show got even better and they began to add much better things like Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, MASH and even All in the Family. By 1973/74 Saturday night was perfect and, once again Carol would end my weekend with a smile.
kkvegas KirwoodDerby 17 months ago
I still remember being a kid and looking forward to Saturday nights for the great CBS lineup.
Daniel74 robert 7 months ago
It was a nice ensemble cast and I admire that Carol made her guests and audiences feel comfortable and that she never touched the topic of "politics" out of respect for people with different political ideologies.
4148nhms 17 months ago
METV is the best thing that’s come around since grits. LOVE IT!
Coldnorth 4148nhms 15 months ago
I’m not a fan of grits but I do agree with you on MeTv
Dave300 17 months ago
Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I personally enjoy Hogan’s Heroes. It delights me every week night and puts me in a good mood for sleeping.
DZee Dave300 17 months ago
Totally agree. One thing about Hogan's Heroes is the vast majority of its episodes are good. That is unusual for most comedies. Even classics like The Andy Griffith Show and Dick Van Dyke Show have their share of bomb episodes, but HH overall has good ones.
Coldnorth DZee 15 months ago
I am a huge fan of Hogan’s Heroes. The actors all bring something special to the series.
vinnyamatucci DZee 6 months ago
Really? What episodes of Andy Griffith and Dick Van Dyke do you consider subpar? They should bring back McHale's Navy and give Carol Burnett a rest for six months.
Henderson 17 months ago
Love Harvey, great actor and was awesome in the Mel Brooks movies.
musicman37 17 months ago
Which reminds me, MeTV. GET RID OF HOGAN'S HEROES!!!!
Bricat2001 musicman37 17 months ago
Yes! Im sick of hogans hero’s
drcasbahjazz 17 months ago
He wasn't actually fired. I read this article because the headline said he was. I expect misleading headlines from the rest of the Internet, but it's really disappointing coming from you lot. You're better than this.
Pacificsun drcasbahjazz 17 months ago
Lead in: "was briefly fired"

Did you know Harvey Korman was briefly fired from The Carol Burnett Show?

Context:

Burnett said, on a Friday, that he was welcome to leave and not return, Korman backtracked. Burnett ultimately gave him another chance,

Hint: when told there's no need to return to a job on Monday, that's a very polite dismissal. Which she herself said was "reversed." As an employer to employee, what else but being fired, could've been reversed.
Tonyfontenot 17 months ago
Harvey Korman. The Carol Burnett Show. Also The Voice Of The Great Gazoo October 29, 1965 On The Flintstones
nancyretire 17 months ago
one of the best channels on dish. love it
TinyPrincess 17 months ago
I love METV!! I watch it every evening from 6pm to 2am.....Saturdays from 7pm to 1am.....and Sundays 9am to 1am. But since Perry Mason: The Movie was replaced with "All In The Family" I only watch METV from 9am to 4pm.
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JJ614 Hollie 17 months ago
I never watched Perry Mason until 2 years ago and I finally gave them a shot. I've seen them all twice now, but I'd never seen the PM movies, as they haven't been on since I began watching METV. So they were brand new to me and I LOVED them after watching all the B/W's. The movies' writing was so much better! And I loved Will Katz!
JJ614 TinyPrincess 17 months ago
I don't always even make it in for DVD. But I don't like Honeymooners (I've been abused and bang/zoom doesn't amuse me at all), nor Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock. So I get back by Fugitive time! (And I love Carol but I've seen all those so many times from first run till now. I still do watch it before PM nightly though.)
My hubby and I watched Perry Mason every night when we went to bed. We never saw the end of any of them. ZZZZZZZZZZ
vinnyamatucci JJ614 6 months ago
The regular episodes are by far, the best court drama EVER!
Bapa1 17 months ago
How come no one in the audience ever asked her about that?
Hollie Bapa1 17 months ago
why and how would they know ?
Bapa1 Hollie 17 months ago
I was just joking.
LalaLucy 17 months ago
Yep. I remember this story in her autobiography. Glad it all worked out or we might have missed some great comic moments.
DDDDDuane 17 months ago
Bitch Carol letting everyone know WHO IS BOSS!!!
MichaelPowers DDDDDuane 17 months ago
Carol is a class act all the way. Korman was acting like a horse's ass to two very nice guests. He needed a wakeup call and she did it as kindly as she could. Someone else might have been so wonderful about it all.
Marti67 DDDDDuane 17 months ago
She's not a bitch. She wanted a show that everyone felt comfortable coming to everyday. Harvey was being rude and Carol had the right to say something to him. I would've done the same thing.

Too many toxic work places.
Pacificsun DDDDDuane 17 months ago
In this day with social media, nothing would be safe from the public. CB's story didn't appear until after HK died, and his family was well aware. And never would've leaked during the run of the Show itself. Besides, not all the questions from the audience are televised or run due to time restraint, and they only use the funniest ones.

Have seen the Show in person.

In terms of respect and talent, Burnette is in the company of the greats, including Jackie Gleason, Dick Van Dyke, Lucille Ball, Betty White and many others, who can be enjoyed on MeTV Classic TV.
I agree. Harvey is great, but you can't abuse your guests, especially the future cast member, Tim Conway.
Jakezx DDDDDuane 4 months ago
She was the Employer and responsible for all her employees. Carol Burnett and the actors were hired to do a job, if employees do not preform they can be dismissed. She was responsible for a selling advertising to pay all the performers etc. No money or you get people mad there will be NO $$$ and no show & who would hire you if you were not the BOSS as she was. They all remained friends so she corrected the problem over 2 days.
AgingDisgracefully 17 months ago
The Old Skipping Down The Hall So You Don't Get Fired Trick.
JJ614 AgingDisgracefully 17 months ago
Which reminds me, METV - please bring back Get Smart. Any time, any day.
Hollie JJ614 17 months ago
for what ? lol
DZee JJ614 17 months ago
Agreed. I missed Get Smart so much that I just broke out my old VCR tapes I made in 1990 when Nick-at-Night ran every episode in a marathon. I had forgot how funny that show was.
vinnyamatucci JJ614 6 months ago
Yes! I miss it by THAT MUCH!!
Gregory 17 months ago
How demeaning.
TheKodakKid Gregory 17 months ago
What? That he got fired, or the way he was treating the guest performers which lead to his being fired?
McGillahooala 17 months ago
This is an unpleasant story.
logicgrrl McGillahooala 17 months ago
What's unpleasant about it?
Pacificsun 17 months ago
From the question asked, in the banner of the Story. I think we did. Because you've already posted this story. Although I think with more hyperlinks this time, so that's very good.

LoveMETV22 17 months ago
Glad that Harvey Korman got the jest of Carol Burnett's comment. He was a valuable member of the cast. It would be hard to imagine the show without him.
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