Don Knotts’ character on “The Andy Griffith Show” had, in many ways, made the show as successful as it was.
As the sidekick deputy to Andy Taylor, Barney Fife’s smug, naive, and overall bravado-filled personality adds irreplaceable humor to the show. One of the fan favorites in terms of comedy is just how incompetent Barney Fife is with a gun, despite being a deputy.
He had a number of misfires during the series. Eventually, Andy says that he can carry an unloaded gun. He even gets one bullet in his shirt pocket in the case of extreme emergencies. This was a running gag on the show and usually ends with him still firing holes into the ceiling and floor and shamefully handing his gun to Andy.
Don Knotts and His Humor on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
While his humor helped make the show what it was, Don Knotts credits someone specific for helping him develop his humor for the screen. Actually, he credits a few people.
“I think because I grew up around comedy with my brothers, and especially my brother Shadow, I think it just became a part of my whole person. I don’t think I ever did consciously think about it, it just became instinctive,” Knotts said in an interview with Television Academy in 1999.
Knotts was born in West Virginia and is the youngest of four other brothers. While some actors and comedians go to great efforts to learn the ins and outs of comedy, Knotts said it came easily for him. “The Andy Griffith Show” wasn’t his only experience in comedy, either. He would go on to star in several other projects as well.
“Somebody once told me that timing was something you learn, but I think I learned that by making my family laugh,” Knotts said.
Don Knotts also called himself the “second banana” on “The Andy Griffith Show.” This essentially means that he was the comic who supported the leading actor. He was the second most important person on the set. This kind of partner duo humor was more common back then. As Knotts said, “You don’t see very many second bananas today.”
Knotts and Best Supporting Actor
While there are still opportunities for supporting actors to shine, Knotts played a very specific role alongside Andy Griffith. However, many actors continue to win the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series title every year.
It’s a title Don Knotts is very familiar with. He won that Primetime Emmy Award in 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, and 1967. The only other person to win an Emmy for ‘The Andy Griffith Show” was Frances Bavier in 1967. She won an Oustanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Emmy.
The most recent person to win it was Dan Levy in 2020. He won for his role as David Rose in the very popular comedy series, “Schitt’s Creek.”
Some predicted nominees for this year, according to Indie Wire, are Brett Goldstein, Kenan Thompson, Bowen Yang, Brendan Hunt, Ray Romano, Michiel Huisman, and Laurence Fishburne.