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.

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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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Steven 1 month 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 1 month ago
It’s the scene when he yells “there are two types of lawmen...THE QUICK AND THE DEAD!”
Ceecee 3 months ago
Is andy griffith back on netlix?
Thefee 3 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 3 months ago
I watch on Netflix, every episode is uncut, and re-mastered.
Ceecee BarryGoldman 3 months ago
is andy back on netflix?
alfredbutler 4 months ago
Best show for folks who enjoy great movie trivia and great vintage horror. Thanks Svengouly
jorel 4 months ago
I would love to see bloopers / outtakes for The Andy Griffith Show. I don't think there are any released.
DoubleNaughtSpy 4 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.
MyrtleMae 4 months ago
"...little old ladies ought not to clank..."
teeK 4 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!
Irish 4 months ago
I love Don Knott's in anything! He made the Andy Griffith show. I was reluctant to watch after he left the show. It just wasn't the same. Floyd was a hoot too. Together they were memorable to say the least.
QazWiz Irish 4 months ago
yes Floyd actually was the funniest of the featured scene. as proof i submit that it was Floyd's line that repeatedly broke Don despite him having such a funny speech of his own.
Ceecee 4 months ago
I loved the bed jacket and the pickle story. I sure miss watching all the episodes on netflix. What a shame they took it off.
robyni23 Ceecee 4 months ago
Ceecee robyni23 3 months ago
absolutely i love all the shows on netflix. I really miss it. wish it would come back.
JosephScarbrough 4 months ago
Something similar happened when filming the M*A*S*H episode "Officer of the Day": Hawkeye stepped into the hospital to find Klinger dressed in a nun's habit - according to Jamie Farr, they kept having to reshoot that scene because Alan Alda kept breaking up at the sight of him dressed like a nun.

Similar thing happened in "The General Flipped at Dawn" because neither McLean Stevenson nor Gary Burghoff expected Harry Morgan to be so hilarious, especially when filming this moment during the inspection scene:

GENERAL STEELE: Non-coms! The backbone of the service. Where are you from, soldier?
RADAR: Iowa, sir--
MS GB were surprised that HM was good at comedy, then they may not have seen him on Pete & Gladys which he was in a couple of decades earlier. The man could do comedy. He was hysterical in What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?
And he guest starred in a number of sitcoms. One which I always like him in was the first season of "The Partridge Family" ("The Sound of Money", Oct. 1970), when he tried to pretend he had "whiplash" (neck) injury from Shirley's barely hitting his car. This is the episode with Farrah Fawcett (then 23), before rocketing to superstardom in her only year on, and the series first year "Charley's Angels" (1976). "Whiplash! Did you see that? Whiplash! Ooooh! Whiplash!" --Willie Larkin (Harry Morgan)
Harry had as great and as long a career in films and tv as almost anyone who wasn't a big superstar. From 1942 (at 27) to 1999 at 84, an amazing 57 years! Lived to be 96.
Couple of decades before would have been closer to December Bride (1954-59)
And, in fairness, Dragnet was a comedy classic...once you began to groove.
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