‘The Carol Burnett Show’: Why Carol Burnett Fired Harvey Korman in Season 7

Comedy novelist Carol Burnett launched her own mixtape show in 1967. Throwing Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Wagoner as her co-stars, Burnett hired Tim Conway to replace Waggoner when he left the series in 1974.

Korman was a key member of the Carol Burnett Exhibition ensemble. The actor left the show in season 10 after landing his own series, although Burnett gave him the walking papers in the seventh season.

Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman of 'The Carol Burnett Show'
Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman of ‘Carol Burnett Exhibition’ CBS Photo Archive

Harvey Korman could ‘get in the mood’

Burnett recalled what happened to Korman in her 2016 memoir In such good company: Eleven years of laughter, Mayhem, and fun in the sandbox, describing how their warm-up conversation emerged after a preseason in season 7.

“Tim was our guest that week [Conway], who had not yet joined the team regularly, and Petula Clark, two of the best men in showbiz, ”Burnett wrote. “There was something wrong with Harvey. Now, at times it might get in the way of an emotion. He was in an Elvis getup this morning and this was one of those times. … He was making fun of everyone, and at one time was rude to Tim and Petula. ”

When Burnett visited Korman in his dressing room to find out what was wrong, he told her to be aware of her own business. When the comedy image reminded Korman that the annoyances of her guest stars and the show were overshadowed by “her business”, Korman dug in her heels.

“Later, I heard from some of the team that Harvey had crossed the street to the local irrigation hole after our little conversation that night,” Burnett said. “This is a place where a lot of the team went for a drink or three after the concert. They said he stood on top of the bar and politely told him what had happened. Then he picked up his glass and gave me a drink!

Burnett said, “The next week I put a record on the door of his dressing room: MR. HAPPY GO LUCKY. ”

Scroll to Top