One of the first times that TV viewers saw Mr. Spock outside the original Star Trek series happened in 1967 on The Carol Burnett Show. In the same week that the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child" first aired, showing serious drama with Spock joining McCoy and Kirk to save a pregnant woman from a Klingon coup, three days later, Mr. Spock became an unexpectedly absurd source of one of The Carol Burnett Show's biggest laughs that week.
The sketch that Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy featured in was a spoof on the sci-fi story The Invisible Man. Carol's version was called "Mrs. Invisible Man," and it saw the variety show's star playing a baby-toting housewife to an invisible husband. The baby in Carol's arms, we're told, "looks just like his father," and by that, Carol means the baby's invisible, too. The entire sketch is a spectacular display of Burnett's singular talents for physical comedy, as she struggles to get the baby a bottle and mimes out interactions with her invisible husband.
As the sketch builds, a deliveryman arrives with a new tonic that Carol tells her husband could cure the baby of its invisibility. "Let me try it first!" the husband insists, and Carol says okay as the bottle hilariously floats away in a display of some impressive special effects for a 1960s stage production.
Almost instantly from offscreen, we hear Carol's husband's voice cry out, "It's amazing! It works! Give it to the baby!" And that's when Nimoy makes his surprise entrance, appearing as the physical form of the insivible husband, in his full Enterprise uniform. Without a word, Spock carries an empty glass and heads straight toward Carol, who has her back to him while she's soothing the baby. When at last Carol turns, she embodies the comedic impact of Spock's entrance, with her mouth comically agape as Nimoy gives a raise of his darkly drawn-on eyebrows, the only hint that he's in on the joke. Watch a clip from the sketch here.
The sketch must've stuck with Nimoy over the years, as eight years ago, he shared this photo memory on his official Twitter account:
On the carol Burnett show in the late '60's. LLAP http://t.co/jEi87N2r— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) October 21, 2011
Meanwhile onscreen, Carol represents all of us as she cracks up while the sketch fades out on the screen, witnessing firsthand the most absurd we ever saw Spock, and it was on a sketch in the first year of her own show. It just goes to show that right from the start, audiences never knew what to expect from The Carol Burnett Show's hilarious twists, except, of course, the utter delight that kept Carol tugging on her ear night after night.
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