Some parts of TV history just get better with time, like a fine wine. The comedy skit “The Dentist” from The Carol Burnett Show is a good example of this. It has made generations of people laugh out loud, making it one of the funniest things ever to happen on TV.
What Could Go Wrong at the Dentist’s Office?
In just eleven years, The Carol Burnett Show won eight Golden Globes and 25 Emmys. It also helped many comedians become well-known. It’s still one of the most respected shows ever to air on TV.
“The Dentist,” which stars Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, is still one of the show’s most popular and funny skits. This is one of those scenes that will stay in your mind forever. It’s so funny that Conway and Korman can barely make it through the skit without laughing.
In “The Dentist,” Korman, one of the patients, has a terrible toothache. When he goes to the dentist on a Sunday, his regular dentist isn’t there, but his regular dentist’s nephew, Conway, is.
This dentist just finished dental school, and Korman will be his first patient. The scared dentist does everything he can to get his first patient to leave or at least get a cleaning. He even tells the patient that he has only pulled teeth on animals and got Cs in dental school. Poor Korman is in too much pain to care about all the excuses, but Conway has no choice but to pull out a manual and try to figure out how to get the tooth out. During the process, he injects Novocain into his own hand by accident. When the hand goes numb, funny things keep going wrong. It’s so crazy funny that Korman has to cover his face more than once so he doesn’t break character and start laughing.
Conway later said that Korman was laughing so hard to himself during the scene that he actually wet his pants. Now that is funny. He would also say later that the skit was inspired in part by a military dentist he had met in real life.
By the end of the skit, the dentist had numbed everything except the patient’s mouth and the laughs of the audience. The skit definitely gets laughs, but you’ll have to watch to find out if the patient’s tooth ever gets pulled out.
Most people can relate to making fun of a bad trip to the dentist, right? The Carrol Burnett Show ran from 1967 to 1978, and it was able to make comedy that was clean, funny, and not about politics. No matter what generation is watching, it’s easy to see why this priceless piece of TV history is still funny.