The Carol Burnett Show rewrote a hilarious nudist joke after CBS censored their original punchline

How do nudists dance?

Everybody loves a good self-made success story, but the fact of the matter is, that very few of us will be lucky enough to reach a level of status so high that we are able to be our own boss. Even someone as powerful as Carol Burnett was still at the mercy of CBS censors during her time on The Carol Burnett Show.

Burnett explained in her memoir, In Such Good Company, that the show was lucky enough to have a fairly lax censor that usually allowed them the freedom to make any sort of jokes they pleased...most of the time.

One of the few and far-between exceptions to this, Burnett revealed, was during a sketch centered around a nudist colony. You might think that the obvious issue with a sketch about nudists is the, well, nudity, but it wasn't so. Rather, it was a joke about the nudity that made CBS clutch their pearls. In the sketch, Harvey Korman interviewed Burnett, the nudist. 

The joke was simple. Burnett wrote, "Harvey asks, 'What do you nudists do for recreation?' My reply was 'We have a dance every Saturday night.'

'How do nudists dance?' he asks. My answer was 'Very carefully.'

It's a hilarious joke, to be sure, and funnily enough, The Carol Burnett Show's immediate censor didn't actually take issue with it. Burnett revealed that it was someone much higher in the department that demanded they make a change. 

The joke was amended to the question "How do nudists dance?" with the answer "Cheek to cheek."

Luckily, the writers on The Carol Burnett Show were talented enough that they had an endless supply of jokes to utilize in their sketches, each one funnier than the last. Burnett again acknowledged, "Actually, the network pretty much left us alone" trusting the cast and crew of the series to do what they do best and keep the audience laughing.

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9 Comments

Avie 1 month ago
"The joke was amended to the question 'How do nudists dance?' with the answer 'Cheek to cheek.'"

But did the censor take into account that there are cheeks, and there are cheeks, and that not all of them are the same distance to the floor?
Wiseguy70005 Avie 30 days ago
Censors are not stupid. They're doing their jobs. Unfortunately, no matter what they do they get insulted. If they refuse a line, their sense of humor is questioned. If they allow a seemingly bawdy line in they're too stupid to understand the line. They can't win.
MaryMitch 1 month ago
"Cheek to cheek" is funnier.
Beatseeker MaryMitch 27 days ago
and dirtyer..one cheek is on the face... the other is not....
Wolfie 1 month ago
CBS had a ratings winner, what wasn't broadcast definitely had the live audience laughing during taping
daDoctah 1 month ago
Proving once again that prudes not only have no sense of humor, they have no sense at all. "Cheek to cheek", the line that got the go-ahead, implies touch dancing whereas "very carefully" does not. Not to mention that "very carefully" is already the punchline to an existing joke "how do porcupines make love?"
AgingDisgracefully 1 month ago
Waiting for the day someone is hired to censor the unfunny.
That sorta happened on the Smothers Brothers! Censors cut so much they even opened an episode with a censoring joke! Fun Fact: one of those censors was played by a young Steve Martin, making his first on-camera appearance!
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