Jackie Gleason used to edit ''The Honeymooners'' while it was live
"Jackie was not the easiest person in the world to act with, but he certainly was the most fun."
Jackie Gleason was undoubtedly a master of comedic timing. They don't call you The Great One for nothing. As creator and star of The Honeymooners, Gleason was more involved in the creation of comedic moments than anyone else was. Moreover, he also had a responsibility to create high-quality comedy, both for himself and for the audience.
This meant that Gleason frequently had a hand in using his comedic eye to edit and trim the fat in The Honeymooners to make sure the series would guarantee laughs. Like any loving parent, Gleason took care of his series every step of the way, and sometimes even lingered a bit longer than that.
According to How Sweet It Is: The Jackie Gleason Story, written by James Bacon, Audrey Meadows, who played Gleason's on-screen wife in The Honeymooners, recalled that Gleason would sometimes edit scenes of The Honeymooners while they were live. She said, "Jackie had an uncanny sense of timing. In fact, I used to think he had a time clock in his head. He knew instinctively when a show was playing too long."
She continued, "When that happened, he would come up with a line that was two pages ahead of what we were doing at the moment. Art and I rolled with this but I have seen veteran actors in the show who were near collapse after it happened. He could drop two minutes without even the slightest hint, not even a wink. And amazingly, he always did it without hurting the plot in any way."
While Gleason was a master at his craft, this situation sounds like it would be stressful for anyone, even seasoned actors like Meadows and Carney. Meadows, however, understood that Gleason's maneuvers were worth the stress, considering they were for the benefit of the show. To sum it up, "Jackie was not the easiest person in the world to act with, but he certainly was the most fun."