Hilarity Ensues as Tim Conway Waits for the News in Classic Sketch

Tim Conway is hilarious as news anchor Paul Bedford in this classic sketch from The Carol Burnett Show! Check it out!

The Carol Burnett Show aired on CBS from 1967 through 1978. So, while skits and clips from the 279 episodes that were produced will provide laughs for many years to come, they also serve as mini-history lessons.

In this sketch, Tim Conway portrays a television news anchor trying to navigate new technology while live on the air. Tim Conway does incredible things without many words because his expressions and timing are brilliant! His posture, serious manner, and professional dress are spot-on imitations of anchors of those days.  

The video begins as Paul introduces himself to the millions watching at home. He explains that their newsroom brings the most current and up-to-date news to viewers and utilizes a “news machine.” The news will come from the machine and be shared immediately. Even Paul doesn’t know the news yet! 

Following that exciting build-up, though, the news machine malfunctions, leaving Paul with nothing to say and no one to banter with for several moments. Today’s anchors usually work in pairs, but poor Paul is hanging out there all alone!

When Anchorman Bedford finally gets something to read, he ends up stating the obvious—the new machine is not working. Awkward!

Paul decides to have Weatherman Don share the forecast. He gives a strong, confident hand-off to Don, only to get bumpkis in return. Don’s not prepared to provide the weather report because Don’s not even in the studio. He’s on vacation!

When it finally seems things are on track, Paul is handed a couple of pages right from the news machine. He reads that the government says there will definitely be a rate hike, but as he flips to page two, the figures of the proposed hike aren’t there. It’s a major cliffhanger!  

Next up is sports. If there’s one thing about Paul, he is patient. Tim plays Paul as a total professional; he’s calm and polite even though his show is going up in flames during ratings week. Actually, that would have been interesting. Paul’s got nothing to work with! 

When given the sports page, Paul reads a few sets of numbers. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, at this point, no team information is given. Folks at home will have to wait for that tidbit. 

Paul is handed another sheet by off-screen George, who seems to be of little help. This time the  headline reads, “Do the commercial, stupid.” Tim Conway demonstrates Paul’s embarrassment expertly when his eyes open wide in a subtle, but telling response. 

He tells viewers to watch the filmed commercial from Britain Realty, smiling now and hoping for a few seconds of reprieve. The break doesn’t come, and Paul once again has egg on his face. He waits and waits, holding a goofy smile and eye contact, but the break never comes. Finally, he does his own wrap-up to a 2-minute spot that never happened!

The time comes for PB to take calls from viewers. His rotary phone is there and ready, but the lines are quiet. He grabs the pitcher to pour himself a glass of water, but instead, a mountain of cigarette butts comes flowing out. It’s just one disgrace after another, and Tim has us laughing about each one. 

Sadly, the only person who calls is his wife—with a grocery list. When Paul gets the list written and can return to the broadcast, he has one final mortifying moment. With pressure from his wife, Paul ends the call by saying, “Poopsie Whoopsie loves you, too.” 

Anchor Paul Bedford calls it a day. He says it’s 6:30, and their time has ended, but the clock on the wall surely says otherwise!

Commenters call Tim Conway a “master of timing” and a “comic genius.” Others praise his commitment to craft and priceless expressions. Two more use the words “excruciatingly good” and “cream of the crop.”  

The news can be painful and unpleasant on many days, but this nightly update was one funny broadcast!

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7 


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