This talented writer contributed to Tim Conway's iconic dentist sketch

We have to thank all of the writers for this hall of fame comedy sketch!

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Watching The Carol Burnett Show's dentist sketch will have you saying, "that was the best nine minutes of my life." After you wipe away tears of laughter, applauding the fantastic actors who brought the sketch to life, don't forget to praise the writers, too.

Of course, Tim Conway and his ability to be a hilarious mastermind turned the skit into comedic history. Yet, a talented writer, Gail Parent, also contributed to the masterpiece.

Parent revealed to the Television Academy that Conway hired her and another writer to help him with six sketches, one being the dentist sketch.

"Tim, in the beginning, was a guest star, and then he was asked to bring in his own material," she said. "And he hired Kenny and me to write six sketches for him, knowing that we were on the show and that we would probably know what would be good for him. One of those sketches was the dentist sketch."

She said that whenever the sketch is mentioned, people tend to forget about her, but she was grateful to collaborate on the opportunity. "He added to [the sketch]. It was about 50/50, or maybe even a 60/40 type of proposition," Parent revealed. "Cause the dentist sketch had the premise of a dentist on his first day of work."

The writer believed the idea was typical and funny because of the mistakes made on the first day at a new job. "I think it was just supposed to be novocaine on the hand. The way we pictured it, it was going to happen pretty quickly," she said. "I mean, Tim made it go on for 20 minutes."

When Tim Conway stepped into the scene, adding a personalized touch, the crowd's laughter was uncontrollable. Harvey Korman, the patient in the chair, tried his best to hold in his laugh.

"Harvey lost it. He was a patient in the dental chair," she added. "And then Tim went on from there. He did improvise and was the only one on the show who did, and he did it to make Harvey laugh or Carol at times, but mainly Harvey."

Parent described Conway as a brilliant and excellent writer. She was happy to get it on record that she helped with that legendary moment in television history.

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PDCougar 18 months ago
It's well known that "The Carol Burnett Show" taped each show twice -- the first generally on-script, and the second often involving the hilarious unplanned moments that would frequently come from Tim Conway. So ... where is the ORIGINAL version of "The Dentist" sketch...? Why have we not seen the scripted version before? And how was the sketch originally supposed be be, before the things we saw from Tim Conway that delightfully destroyed Harvey Korman?

Seems like that would be the makings for a great CBS special: Selected sketches in their original unaired versions, followed by the more familiar versions with the famous improvisational moments from the cast.

And, to say it again: Where is the ORIGINAL version of "The Dentist" from that first taping...????
LoveMETV22 18 months ago
Love the way Tim Conway kept a straight face ( most of the time) in his skits while the other cast member(s) tried to maintain their composure. He was a brilliant actor, comedian, writer, and director.
Andybandit 18 months ago
I loved Tim Conway's and Harvey Korman's skits. They were hilarious together. I liked the Dentist skit, and when Tim played the old man working in the deli. He keeps screwing up Harvey's order.
Pacificsun 18 months ago
Gail Parent is also know for the Golden Girls and the Tracy Ullman shows.
MrsPhilHarris 18 months ago
The dentist sketch still makes me laugh. 😂
McGillahooala 18 months ago
I love when he improvises something and makes them laugh. The elephant story on the family was especially good.
Moverfan McGillahooala 18 months ago
Oh, God, the Siamese elephants!
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