Last Friday, on Antenna TV, I watched a rerun of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. One of his guests was the incomparable Tim Conway, who we lost in 2019. Tim Conway, was a brilliant actor and comedian who always managed to make people smile. The sketches he did on The Carol Burnett Show were hilarious and his concentration was second to none. He managed to maintain his composure while he made his cast mates laugh and giggle at his improvisations and other shenanigans that they were not expecting.
Last year, Carol Burnett came to do her one woman show to my hometown and she spoke about Tim Conway and what fun they had on the show. She told a story about him that took place off the soundstage and in his personal life. What she said was that his desire to make people laugh and to shock them with his comedy went beyond the show and into his personal life. The story involved his wife and a dinner party at the house of one of her bridge partners. Mr. Conway did not want to go because everyone was only going to talk about bridge, which he didn’t like and he knew he would be bored. He was right and the evening dragged on. At one point during dinner, he excused himself and went to the bathroom. As he was getting ready to wash his hands, his curiosity got the better of him and he opened the medicine cabinet. Inside he found two items that intrigued him: a jar of Vaseline and a box of Q-tips. Upon seeing these two items, his mind began to click. He placed small globs of Vaseline in different areas on his face. Then he took some Q-tips and stuck one to each glob in order for them to stick to his face. He emerged from the bathroom looking like a white porcupine. When he arrived back to the dinner table, his wife was mortified and hid her face in her hands. He addressed his hosts and simply said, “Your Q-tip box exploded.”
Carol Burnett mentioned he was a very generous actor and a pleasure to work with. This was wonderful to hear since he managed to bring so much joy to so many people and his persona emulated what he personified in his career. There is a comfort knowing that he was extremely talented and interacted in a jovial and caring manner with his costars.