Classic Carol Burnett: The interrogation skit

A classic Carol Burnett skit with Tim Conway playing a Nazi interrogating an American POW, played by Lyle Waggoner.


I watch this hysterical skit and I wonder if someone could put this on TV today.

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  • keirmeister

    Alot of it is timing. These skits work so well because they’re absurd. You start laughing, then calm down. And right when you think the laughter is ending, they do something else that starts it all up again. And it just builds on itself.

    It’s like a rousing church sermon or a political speech: a roller coaster of highs and lows…a particular cadence that draws the audience in…building up to the finale. And in the case of the Carol Burnett show, the timing is aided by the cast’s own inability to stop laughing themselves.

    They become both the performer and the spectator, and in so doing, provide further cues to the audience that what’s happening on stage is actually quite hilarious. Notice that the camera likes to zoom in when an actor is trying not to lose it. That tension adds to the comedy, and it’s so pure and awesome!

  • S1AMER

    Yep. And it’s the sort of laughter that just builds as the skit continues.

  • S1AMER

    CBS on Saturday night was the reason we usually stayed home back then: And the shows — “All in the Family,” the original “Bob Newhart Show,” and Carol Burnett’s show are still among the best stuff TV has to offer.

    And, yeah, not only were the skits on Carol Burnett’s show damned funny, all us viewers got extra laughs from waiting to see who would crack up whom.

    Thanks, Carol, and thanks to all your regular and guest actors, and writers, and directors, and everybody else involved in a great show.

  • I imagine Harvey Korman’s gibberish faux German would draw some complaints. But I think if there’s one reason we wouldn’t see stuff like this is because the “variety show” format has since passed into TV history.

    A major component of the genius comedy of the Carol Burnett show was how they’d have some parts of their skits scripted, but much of the best stuff was ad-libbed.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    I saw this skit as a kid when it was first broadcast about 40 years ago. It’s just one of those things that leaves an indelible impression.

  • What’s funny is I don’t know how I would describe to someone WHY it’s funny, but it just is.

  • Will

    Love this clip! The puppet singing is genius.

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