Saturday, January 21, 2012

The No-Frills Airline

After flying fourteen hours to Sydney, this seemed very appropriate. Talk about being ahead of their time -- this is a sketch from THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW from either the late '60s or early '70s. It stars Carol, Harvey Korman, and the incomparable Tim Conway. And they thought they were exaggerating.

28 comments:

Johnny Walker said...

If you're flying back from New Zealand, and it's not already too late to change your flight... Go with Air New Zealand!

You may be travelling first/business, but you'll probably find that Premium Economy will be good enough.

Check it out: Spaceseats!

As someone who hates being trapped in a confined space for 11 hours at a time (it's sooo dull and uncomfortable), I honestly swear by these guys.

If I can avoid flying with anyone else in the future I will.

Johnny Walker said...

And no, I don't work for them :)

Breadbaker said...

It's a shame the CBC has blocked all copies of it on YouTube, but the ending was a total ripoff of the classic Wayne and Shuster skit on the differences between first class and tourist class that probably preceded that skit by 20 years. Which is no knock on the brilliance with with Kormann, Burnett and particularly Conway carried it off.

MikeBo said...

Well, now I know that the customer service geniuses behind today's "no frills" approach to airline travel all saw this Carol Burnett Show sketch as kids. And, when they grew up....

Sebastian said...

Yeah Johnny, an aditional problem would be that those windows in the picture won't be available since Air NZ doesn't have any 787. Nor did they order any.

Also it's Premium Economy which means you have to pay extra and without knowing the prices for Economy, Premium Economy and Business you can't really tell if it's a bargain or now. Or if those seats are in the planes already or at all. Because at the moment I'd venture a guess and say it's planned, not in effect.

Concerning the video: I laughed a couple of times because the actors are funny but once they showed the window without a glass and the chair hopping separately it was over for me.

Sorry but when you have to bend the laws of physics to deliver a joke it isn't funny anymore. You can't pressurize the cabin for just a part of the plane, you can't have turbulence in just a part of a plane and on top of that the "backing into a mountain" joke was on that level as well. Not to mention storing a spare wheel in the overhead compartment that has the size of training wheels compared to how big a real plane wheel is.

All in all the jokes were on a Larry the Cable Guy level which is kind of sad because the ideas were good.

For instance whispering the security instructions was a fun idea but I really expected them to have oxygen masks only in the front part of the plane not in the back. I don't get why they didn't. I also don't get why no frills means no smoking especially because cracking open a fire extinguisher is fracking expensive.

Sebastian said...

Ah I found the Air New Zealand order. They have 8 in the books for the 787-9 but since the Dreamliner is 3.5 years behind schedule and only 3 of the ordered 600+ planes have been delivered I guess that layout won't be available for another three to five years.

Anonymous said...

Re: Sebastian's "when you have to bend the laws of physics to deliver a joke it isn't funny anymore" ...
Now I feel stupid for laughing at all those Warner Bros. cartoons.

Chris said...

Hey, here's a friday question: I see a lot of shows that start off being really funny and then they fall off and get canceled by season 2 or 3 (if not in the first season). Would you be open to analyze some of the shows that got canceled like that and the reasons you think they lost viewers? (in terms of writing and not when the network doesn't switch them around and make it hard for viewers to find them or things like that)

Anonymous said...

The most amazing thing about that clip is that the network aired almost 10 minutes of program content without a commercial interuption.

Ref said...

Flew Air NZ to NZ and back a few years ago. it remains the best flying experience of my life. The seats were comfortable, the crew friendly and attentive, and the food was actually pretty good. Only problem was their tendency to put milk in your tea unless you specify black.

Birdie said...

Am I the only one who never "got" the supposed genius of Tim Conway? He was great at making Harvey Korman crack up but otherwise I never got why ppl thought he was so funny. Harvey Korman, on the other hand, was always effing hilarious.

Gitano said...

Honestly, I've had flights that weren't much better than that!

Count me in the "Tim Conway is a comic genius" camp. Not sure why he never reached the same level of fame as, say, Bob Newhart, because I think he's just as good.

And to Birdie: I can see why some wouldn't find him funny. But for me it was always more his gift for physical comedy that made him standout. Just watch one of the many sketches in which is plays the "old man" character. Watching him shuffle across the stage cracks me up every time. And, of course, he could deliver a great comic line with precisely the right timing.

chris mcdermott said...

I forgot how cute Tim Conway's forehead was.

The Milner Coupe said...

That was funny.

You comic geniuses that have to over analyze and bring physics into comedy must be a riot at parties. Snore...

Thanks Ken.

SkippyMom said...

I have to agree with Milner Coupe. Why not just enjoy it.

When Harvey put his seat up and Tim shot over the seats next to him I just cracked up.

It was worth the whole 9 1/2 minutes. :) Thanks Ken.

HogsAteMySister said...

I still don't think there has ever been as much talent on one show. Even if Tim Conway was in the room all by himself.

On a side note, I didn't know JetStar was Tim Conway's airline of choice.

Chris said...

Here's a friday question: I notice sometimes multi cam shows (especially when they're starting out) tend to end scenes without laughs. To me, it seems it throws off the whole episode when they do a scene like that, what do you think about ending scenes without a laugh?

Max Clarke said...

Very funny clip.

All three were gifted at performing physical comedy. Tim's sense of surprise at the chaos around him seems so genuine, it almost makes you wonder if he knew everything that was about to happen.

Johnny Walker said...

Sebastian, I really have no idea what you're talking about. I flew Premium Economic in those seats last October. They use 777's if I'm not mistaken. At little research...

Johnny Walker said...

Also, that photo is from a press event... It's a mocked up cabin, probably in an exhibition centre, which is why the sky looks like it's painted on the windows. And also why there's nobody in any of the seats.

I can assure you that those seats, and that layout, is exactly what you get. I got it. This is why I was raving about it: It's amazing.

(I suppose the fact that you can't believe it's actually standard for their London > LA > New Zealand flights is a testament to how unusually good it is!)

But even their economy is great, simply because of their amazing staff and service. (I've flown that, too.)

Johnny Walker said...

Wow. I've never seen Tim Conway before. I don't know how I've missed him... He's hilarious! Easily as funny as Newhart, as someone mentioned.

Whenever I've heard the name Tim Conway in the past, I always thought of the guy from Taxi... and didn't understand the reverence. Doh!

lolly b said...

I had thought to offer you some suggestions for traveling downunder, but never got around to it - Call me my father's daughter - a day late and a dollar short. So if you happen to get this while your journey is under way, enjoy. If not enjoy anyway.

If you like chocolate, check out a KoKo Black salon in Melbourne. Actually, even if you don't like, you'll become a convert. Most of my time in the Melbourne area was spent down on the Mornington Peninsula in the quaint, city getaway, Rye. A mere stone's throw from Safety Beach; previously named Shark Bay, for what were, seen, to be obvious reasons. I am sure the change of moniker was a big deterrent to the stealth predators.

If you happen to be picking mangoes, the sap is caustic, even more so, than Howard Cosell. If you happen to be at a zoo, believe the sign over the Tasmanian Devil that says don't reach over the enclosure. If you are still in Aus. on the 26th of this month, enjoy the Australia Day celebrations. Were you to be there on the same day in May, you would witness the day the government decided to mark on their calendars to remember that the 'abos' indigenous peoples were there first
.
Among the many things we enjoyed on our travels there were the wonderful names for things: icy pole, jumbuck, bickie, and the change of names for things like cereal. Weetabix = Weetbix, Rice Krispies = Rice Bubbles, and what we call a rice krispie square, becomes a prepackaged LCM. We found no one who could explain to us why it was called an LCM.

Have a fabulous time, hope you remembered to pack your 'budgie smuggler'!
And thank you for asking for your travel recommendations as it has reminded me of the glorious six months I spent dragging my family around that spectacular country - and how I have been meaning to write about it.

And a quick mention for NZ: I have never been, but have over the years met a few who have travelled the country and their universal highlight was their visit to the glow worm caves. Indeed, this so inspired me that we went in search of the glow worm cave in the Blue Mntns near Sydney, which we travelled to at great peril, as taking the rental car off the bitumen is forbidden. And if you haven't seen it, check out the movie 'Whale Rider'

lolly b said...

Wait! Most importantly, I forgot to add: try the Sticky Date Pudding.

Pat Reeder said...

"Sticky Date Pudding" sounds like a delightfully filthy way to end an evening.

Paul Duca said...

Ken...you won't believe this clip I found of Tim Conway on THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE, alongside Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks--well, the rest you have to see for yourself.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9skUH0Ko9XQ&feature=related

(if you don't want to hear Vic Damone, it starts at 5:55)

Kirk said...

I certainly find Tim Conway funny. If anything, he's a bit underrated. Harvey Korman, on the hand, could only do the same stock comedy characters that everyone else does.

Know where Tom Conway was (and is) the funniest? Not Carol Burnett. Not McHales Navy. Not co-sarring along side Don Knotts. Conway is his funniest on talk shows. He improvises just as well as Jonathin Winters. And, unlike Winters, most of the time he can improvise without ever having to change his voice.

As for the sketch breaking the law of physics, if this were a movie or an episodic TV series where the viewer has some investment with the story and characters, then I can see where you might find that gag annoying. If I saw it on Cheers, I'd balk. But this is just an ephermal comedy sketch that asks nothing more of you than you laugh. The characters don't even have names! That it's impossible to have turbulence in only one section of an airplane is the whole point of the joke. If it WERE possible, they would never have used the gag.

I'll tell you one gag that did get on my nerves. On THE FLYING NUN once, Sister Bertrille very calmly catches up with a 747 as it soars through the sky. She even knockes on the window to get someone's attention! Now, that's impossible. Well, so are flying nuns, but I'm willing to accept the first conceit, but, for some reason, not the second.

Somersby said...

Thanks for posting this, Ken.

Kinda nice to a skit that doesn't dependent on toilet humor to get a laugh. The SNL writers might learn a thing or two about constructing segments that have a beginning, middle AND end from some of these old gems.

Downtown eCommerce Partners said...

Great skit. I agree the no frills started out without the meal but still a snack and beverage. Now even on international flights thats still the standard. If I can save a few hundred dollars, I will buy your $9 cheese and cracker plate as well as your $6 bag of chips. But please stock your plane with food for purchase for those of us who cant go 17 hours without eating.