Tim Conway improvised during much of his appearances on the show which would cause the other cast members - especially Harvey Korman - to laugh during taping. The cast breaking character became a popular part of the series.
At the end of the final show of the first season, Carol Burnett appeared as her "washerwoman" character, and walked out of the theater, every seat empty save for a bald man who had fallen asleep in his seat. In a touching gesture, she stopped by him, leaned over, kissed him on his scalp, and walked out the doors of the back of the theater. It was so well-received that every subsequent season ending, the scene was repeated with a bald actor in the audience. At the end of the last show of the series, she walked out to the back of the stage (amid the wild applause of the audience) and kissed a similarly "sleeping" security guard.
Although many consider Tim Conway to have been a series regular from the start, in fact he was only a frequent guest star for many years, and didn't become a regular weekly cast member until the later seasons.
The print dress Carol Burnett always wore as Eunice in "The Family" sketches was an actual vintage garment from the 1930's. The sketch was originally to have a "Tennessee Williams"-type style to it, and costume designer Bob Mackie found it in a thrift shop. It was originally a long, sleeveless evening dress, which Mackie shortened, creating the "capelet" top detail by using the surplus fabric. The well-worn costume acquired many small tears over the years, and was patched from the inside with many bits of chiffon. At one point Mackie copied the dress exactly, using a similar fabric, but Burnett preferred to keep wearing the original out of superstition even though it had become extremely fragile.
Vicki Lawrence wrote a fan letter to Carol Burnett while still in High School, Carol received the letter on the day that Vicki was going to be in a Miss Fireball contest, having a feeling about her. Carol found her dad's number, called Vicki, and attended the contest. They talked for 5 minutes when Carol told her that she will keep in touch and they will discuss Vicki's Career. Vicki auditioned and got the part of Carol's kid sister and became Carol's protégée.
Carol Burnett's trademark tugging of her ear was a message to her grandmother. Burnett's grandmother died during the run of the series but Burnett continued to tug her ear in every episode as a tribute to her.
The show had many break ups, but three are consider classics; one being The Dentist Sketch where Harvey Korman could not keep a straight face with Tim Conway. Secondly, The Family Sketch in the game Sorry when Vicki Lawrence completely went off script causing Carol Burnett to lose it in both tapings. The most famous one is the Family Sketch called the Elephant Story when Tim Conway dragged on a story about two elephant causing the cast to break up, when he finally finished Vicki Lawrence will steal the scene by saying 'Are you sure the little a**hole is through' causing Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, and Dick Van Dyke to fall to pieces.
The first five seasons of the series (1967-1972) are co-owned with Bob Banner, which is why the earliest sketches that were compiled for the syndicated "Carol Burnett and Friends" came from the sixth season (1972-73) onwards.
Vicki Lawrence was extremely shy as a young girl and still was shy when going on this show, it would not be until the 5th season that she started to blossom. Carol Burnett has stated this and will always show a clip of this during Q&A period of reunion shows. When during the first season, when Vicki was so nervous getting asked questions that she was almost buried into Carol.
Executive Producer Joe Hamilton had planned to spin off the popular sketch 'The Family' with Mama after the Eighth Year, but Vicki Lawrence turned it down as she was not sure that she wanted to play an old lady every week and she did not want to leave Mentors Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman. Carol Burnett was reportedly thrilled about this. There would not be a spin off until 1983, When Carol Burnett convinced'Vicki Lawrence' to do it.
Vicki Lawrence had a billboard record with The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia in 1973 during the 6th Year of the show. Many people did not realize that Vicki who sang the song was the same who played in The Carol Burnett Show (1967).
In the beginning Vicki Lawrence would mostly do the Carol and Sis sketches and a few musical numbers because of her inexperience. When she felt that she was ready, she finally asked her mentor Carol Burnett if she could do other things, and she started branching out into other sketches.
Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence found their voices and the characters of The Family sketches while in the restroom yelling at each other. In the process of scaring off ladies in the bathroom, Vicki and Carol reportedly high five each other saying this is going to be a hit. Carol Burnett found her voice for Stella Toddler while in the bathroom.
Carol Burnett was known to bring the writers down on the set of her show if she felt they did not give Vicki Lawrence enough funny lines. Vicki recalled that one time Carol did this and ask the writers to come down to give Vicki more funny lines and Vicki asked her "I do?" And Carol responded, "Hush Now yes you do." Carol also helped make a Emmy show for her and Vicki won a Emmy for it in 1976. This coined the term when Vicki said on her own TV Show in 1990s in response to Robert Wagner if she had someone who influence her and Vicki said "we all know who took me under her wing."
While filming a sketch taking place on a submarine, Tim Conway gets pinned under the periscope and his face registers pain. He wasn't acting. The day before he had a vasectomy and the periscope actually hit him in the groin during the taping.
Carol Burnett explained that there were two tapings of the show. During the first taping, Tim Conway would follow the script. Because of his desire to improvise, Burnett gave him permission to do so during the second taping. It was then that Burnett said, "we had no idea what he was going to do," and the cast breaking up into fits of laughter, especially Harvey Korman, would occur.