Don Knotts revealed why he actually preferred being the second banana to a television star

Knotts explained why there was some value in being the sidekick.

To the untrained eye, an actor playing a supporting role might be indicative of a lack of talent. But for many who know better, they understand that just because someone is playing a secondary character doesn't necessarily mean they're second best.

Take Don Knotts, for example. Sure, the show is called The Andy Griffith Show, but the character of Barney Fife is a fan favorite that has the attitude of a main character. Fife has stood the test of time. Viewers love the character, and it's one that won Knotts many awards.

Eventually, the role won Knotts so much acclaim that he was able to take that success and star in a series of films.

But even after years of success, when prompted, Knotts insisted that he was not upset with his commonly used moniker of "second banana." Rather, Knotts revealed that he preferred it to its alternative. You see, Knotts had a taste of the singular spotlight and had simply decided it wasn't for him. {Seealso}

In an interview with United Press International, Knotts said, "I'm more comfortable playing a secondary part like I did with Andy Griffith." He then explained, "You can really settle into a character and play him to the hilt."

The actor was never shy about sharing his love for The Andy Griffith Show, and among his storied career, it was obvious that he had a soft spot for the show. According to an article with the Associated Press, Knotts spoke of the show during a Virginian town's ceremony that honored Knotts by naming a street after him. He said, "I don't think there's any question I enjoyed doing The Andy Griffith Show the most."

Knotts also revealed that with a bigger role, there comes a bigger mental strain, which he wasn't a huge fan of.

Knotts said, "I wouldn't relish the responsibility of carrying a show myself at this time. I tried that for one season with The Don Knotts Show. It was sort of a musical variety program that didn't do too well. I found myself working eighteen hours a day. That's too much."

Watch The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV!

Weeknights at 8 & 8:30, Sundays at 6 & 6:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

3 Comments

JHP 29 days ago
2nd? Not from the consensus of this board

BARN was a melding of Don Rickles ; Sam Kinison and Robert Crane
FrankensteinLover 1 month ago
I love Don Knotts sure do miss him, but forever living off the reruns of his comedy.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
I can understand what Knotts was saying here. Not being top dog comes can come with less stress.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?