Don Knotts laughed so hard in this Andy Griffith Show scene, it had to be reshot 20 times

Even a comedy pro couldn't help but to crack up and ruin the scene over and over again.

What is the funniest scene from The Andy Griffith Show? Ask 10 fans and you might get 10 different answers. Odds are, though, they all involve Barney Fife. But what if there was a quantitative way to actually measure a subjective thing like "funniest Mayberry moment"? A good metric would be to look at how many times it took Don Knotts himself to get through a scene without laughing.

In 1985, when he hosted The Andy Griffith Show Silver Anniversary Special, Knotts not only revealed his favorite episode of the series ("The Pickle Story"), he shared an anecdote that arguably made the case for the funniest scene from the sitcom. Well, at least it was the one that cracked him up the most in his memory.

The scene can be found in "Guest of Honor" in season two. Barney delivers a rousing speech to three newly deputized Mayberry residents — Sam (Sherwood Keith), Art the Grocer (Frank Warren) and the beloved Floyd the Barber (Howard McNear). Barney marches back and forth before his three fresh recruits, barking like a drill sergeant. Naturally, he delivers his iconic catchphrase: "We've got to nip it! Nip it in the bud! You got that?! Let's hear it!"

And this is when the mild-mannered Floyd Lawson shouts with shivering ferocity, "NIP IT!!"

And that is when Don Knotts lost it. Having McNear holler "Nip it!" in his face broke him. He couldn't help but burst into laughter. Twenty times.

That's right, in that 25th Anniversary special, Knotts admitted, "[I] laughed so hard at Howard McNear's screaming, the entire scene had to be reshot 20 times."

Even a comedy veteran couldn't help but break. What chance would a TV audience have at keeping a straight face?

There is one more interesting note to this episode, which centers around a grifter who drifts into town. A conman named Sheldon Davis attempts to fleece Mayberry on its Founders Day. Jay Novello portrays the character. The Italian-American Chicago native was a particular favorite of Lucille Ball. 

Jay Novello in ''Guest of Honor''

Ball cast Novello in three memorable episodes of I Love Lucy — you might remember him Mr. Merriweather in "The Seance" or Mario in "Visitor from Italy." Later, he turned up in a couple of episodes of The Lucy Show, as well. But he is perhaps best known for his recurring role as Mayor Mario Lugatto in the later season of McHale's Navy set in Italy.

But what we wanted to point out is that he turned up in Mayberry again, too. Novello returns in "Otis Sues the County" as a sleazy lawyer who convinces the town drunk to take legal action against the local government. Did you ever catch that they were the same actor?

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braycy 22 months ago
My favorite, well I guess I got 2, when Andy's Uncle's family stays for a week & his uncle acts likes he's the sheriff yelling at people, & my other one is
the shoplifter!
braycy 22 months ago
Love this show!! The only thing that gets to me is at the beginning of every episode when Opie & the Sheriff are heading to the lake to do some fishing...where's the bait?
gmail 31 months ago
Opie: I've never seen a half a boy, paw
Opie's Charity
gmail 38 months ago
"Never seen a half a boy, pa" Opie's Charity
OlgaBagley gmail 31 months ago
That was funny I notice Aunt 🐝. Sure like to Cook. Chicken a lot
RichardKeller 39 months ago
I don't care what anyone says......the funniest thing I've ever seen ON ANY TV SHOW, is the Andy and Barney front porch scene in "Runaway Kid". I laugh just thinking about it. "Can you pick him out on a porch"?
OlgaBagley RichardKeller 31 months ago
And when Barn was Showing Trey about gun Safety he accidentally fire the gun & made a hole on the Porch. And Andy just stared at the hole. And told him Go Wait in the Car when Op & Trey were pushing each other around Op DID put his hands on him first & Barn lied to him & told on him anyways
OlgaBagley RichardKeller 27 months ago
It was on Tonight on Tvland
Steven 41 months ago
My all time fav was “3 Wished For Opie,”. When I see scheduled and I have time, I catch it with the lights out!
Steven 41 months ago
It’s the scene when he yells “there are two types of lawmen...THE QUICK AND THE DEAD!”
Ceecee 43 months ago
Is andy griffith back on netlix?
Thefee 43 months ago
I really love this show. I wish we could see more episodes. It seems we see the same 30 or so episodes over and over.
HansShultz1 Thefee 43 months ago
I watch on Netflix, every episode is uncut, and re-mastered.
Ceecee BarryGoldman 43 months ago
is andy back on netflix?
OlgaBagley Thefee 31 months ago
FYI. There Are No New Episodes
alfredbutler 44 months ago
Best show for folks who enjoy great movie trivia and great vintage horror. Thanks Svengouly
jorel 44 months ago
I would love to see bloopers / outtakes for The Andy Griffith Show. I don't think there are any released.
DoubleNaughtSpy 44 months ago
"..... Knotts admitted, '[I] laughed so hard at Howard McNear's screaming, the entire scene had to be reshot 20 times.' "

Twenty takes? Really, Don? Back in those days, film was a precious and expensive commodity that was not to be wasted. It's quite doubtful that a notoriously grouchy and penny-pinching executive producer like Sheldon Leonard would be happy about 2 or 3 takes, let alone 20.

I dunno. I guess "The Andy Griffith Show" is too esoteric and highbrow for me. I watched the clip 5 times and found there to be nothing particularly side-splittingly hilarious about it.

It's kinda like the French and their adulation of Jerry Lewis. Only the truly enlightened can bear witness to the comedy genius of Don Knotts. And to think my college buddies and I have wasted the last 45 years memorizing the entire script of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
If only we had more "experts" like you. The actual statements by the people involved are so unreliable (sarcasm).
- The show was a big success, so the dollars spent on film were meaningless to the producers.
- Don Knotts was not the mindless pie-in-the-face comic like Lewis. It took adult awareness to "get" Knotts. Maybe you should stick with simple things, like Lewis and the Three Stooges.
OlgaBagley dangler1907 27 months ago
It. Sounds like a 🦵. In the. 🍆
MyrtleMae 44 months ago
"...little old ladies ought not to clank..."
teeK 44 months ago
My favorite will always be from the episode "Dogs, dogs, dogs" about the pack of stray dogs that follow Opie to the court house and Barney's speech during the thunderstorm about how dogs take care of each other but Giraffes are selfish. LOLOLOLOLOL!
OlgaBagley teeK 31 months ago
When Otis told Opie what they do with Stray Dogs if no one Claims them& he wasn’t drunk at the time really bright
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