When Funny Was Funny

I grew up watching *Laurel and Hardy, the **Three Stooges, and the ***Little Rascals (from Hal Roach’s “Our Gang”). At the time, all of them were hilarious, and as a child even I knew that all the stunts were just part of the show. Looking back, it was just funny and nothing more. These days there would be law suits and mothers demanding that such shows should be taken off the air, and so on.

But even as a kid I understood that no one really got hurt or in trouble; it was all in fun. To this day if I just think about those shows I can’t help but smile. Seriously, all it takes to make me howl with laughter is seeing some man slipping on a banana peel. Silly, I know, but funny.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be too much “funny” these days. Granted, we are in a pandemic right now (and wouldn’t you think that we could all use a few laughs to get through it?), and most people are just trying to stay safe. Many of us will not be with our loved ones for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but seriously, it’s not the end of the world. Luckily we can get on the computer and see each other and talk and laugh together.

And as things always sort themselves out, this too will pass. But in the mean time, take the time each day to find something funny; you’d be amazed at how it makes you feel. If you, like me, absolutely loved the Carol Burnett show, look up “*the dental skit” with Harvey Corman and Tim Conway.

From God updates: “Tim Conway was one of the stars on The Carol Burnett Show, a variety/sketch show that aired from 1967 to 1978. The show featured good, old-fashioned humor the whole family could enjoy.”

My favorite was Tim Conway’s dentist skit. Tim played a bumbling dentist fresh out of dental school and co-star Harvey Korman played Tim’s very first patient. In the skit, Harvey has come in with a terrible toothache. But as a brand new dentist, Tim is extremely hesitant to work on a human for the first time ever. He confesses to only being an average student who has only ever practiced on animals while in dental school.

As the dentist, Tim Conway nervously bumbles through the procedure. He even winds up accidentally numbing his own hand with the novocaine rather than the patient’s mouth!

That’s when co-star Harvey Korman starts losing it. In fact, Tim Conway later confessed to talk show host Conan O’Brien that the skit was so much fun, Harvey Korman actually wet himself during the filming!

Those were the days when funny was really funny. Do yourself a favor and look up skits from the Carol Burnett show (or any other show you loved) and start laughing. As an old doctor of mine once said when I was a little girl getting a shot for something, “it couldn’t hurt.”

*Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957).

**The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best known for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures that have been regularly airing on television since 1958. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick.

***The Little Rascals is a 1994 American family comedy film produced by Amblin Entertainment, and released by Universal Pictures on August 5, 1994. The film is an adaptation of Hal Roach‘s Our Gang, a series of short films of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s (many of which were broadcast on television as The Little Rascals) which centered on the adventures of a group of neighborhood children. The film, with a screenplay by Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur, and Penelope Spheeris – who also directed – presents several of the Our Gang characters in an updated setting, and features re-interpretations of several of the original shorts.

One thought on “When Funny Was Funny

  1. Alison Jolda says:

    That dentist skit still makes me laugh until I cry!!

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