Tim Conway on Johnny Carson Show as World Famous Jockey Lyle Dorf

Enjoy this classic video in which Tim Conway appears on the The Johnny Carson Show as the world famous jockey, Lyle Dorf. Tim Conway demonstrates his comedic talent in and out of character during the 15-minute clip.

When this show aired in January 1986, Tim Conway had already seen incredible success in movies and television, having starred in several Disney films and other movies and having become a regular on the The Carol Burnett Show.

On this particular evening, he is promoting his latest comedy about the hijinx of a group of friends who like to gamble on horses. The Longshot, which he both wrote and starred in, was released in January 1986—the month of this television appearance.     

Tim and Johnny chat for several minutes, and the conversation quickly turns to one of Tim’s most famous characters. Mr. Tudball was a grouchy businessman with an indifferent, careless, and curvy secretary; Carol Burnett played the secretary, Mrs. Wiggins. Mr. Tudball was supposed to be Swedish, but Tim used a Romanian accent for the character.  

Tim explains that he first tried the accent during a traffic stop one night when he found himself without his license (or pants), and he thought he’d assume an accent in an attempt to avoid a citation. We don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s a good story!

Tim talks about marrying in 1984 for the second time for money, adding that his wife is nearing 90, heavily insured, and hang-gliding at that very moment!

Born in Ohio, Tim was once an exercise boy for race horses. He shares that he invests in horses, but admits that the economics of the sport don’t really add up if the purses don’t pile up! He admits that the inherent danger in horse racing was key in his decision not to pursue a career as a jockey. Again, his dry manner leaves us wondering how much is true.  

The full show included a clip of The Longshot, but this clip does not. However, we do meet another notable Tim Conway character. Johnny returns after an ad to talk to Jockey Lyle Dorf, his name a pun on the word “dwarf.” 

Lyle Dorf is shorter than Tim Conway’s actual 5’6”, because Tim plays Lyle on his knees. He  channels Mr. Tudball’s accent, has added a mini mustache that looks like Adolf Hitler’s, and his belly prevents his satin jacket from fully buttoning. He’s quite a sight!

Johnny now visits with Lyle Dorf about his racing techniques, which Lyle demonstrates while leaning far forward, backward, and sideways on his “feet.” He shares his exercise routine, which includes super challenging toe touches. And, perhaps most impressive is the way in which Lyle jumps up so quickly after doing a sit up! 

Mr. Conway is funny throughout the interview and the skit portion of his appearance. And, there isn’t one curse word or one sexual joke shared. That’s pretty cool! 

His clever writing, timing talent, and, yes, athletic gifts combined to create a character that first appeared during this January 1986 show, but went on to appear in eight films about a variety of sports! Well done, Mr. Conway! Lyle Dorf may not be much of a jockey, but you were one amazing  comedian! 

“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

Source: Johnny Carson

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