Character comedian Karen Knotts is the daughter of legendary comedian Don Knotts, TV’s Barney Fife of Mayberry fame and a beloved icon to Baby Boomers everywhere.
When my father, legendary comedian Don Knotts, passed away in February 2006, I wanted to pay tribute to him the way I knew him best: as an amazing, loving dad. That’s when I created my live, one woman comedy show, ‘Tied Up In Knotts!’ I’ve been on tour now for over ten years in 32 states. It’s fascinating how the love for my dad continues to grow, the popularity of my one woman comedy show is testament to that. ‘Tied Up In Knotts’ is family friendly and at its heart, a father-daughter story. As a child I visited the set of The Andy Griffith Show and saw Dad rehearse Barney Fife, his most enduring character. I was also an observer of his fascinating relationship with Andy Griffith. In my one woman comedy show I also talk about the making of his movies: The Incredible Mr. Limpet; The Ghost and Mr. Chicken; and The Apple Dumpling Gang movies with Tim Conway. I share a few popular clips as well as rare footage from his early days in New York playing the ‘Nervous Guy’. I also talk about Dad’s childhood. The stories Dad told me about growing up in a small town similar to Mayberry resonate across America. I consider my live comedy show a ‘Docu-Comedy’, because I’m presenting the truth about Dad’s life as well as delivering laughs. For me, it’s a love story that continues to grow as I share these precious memories with audiences who continue to find joy in the legacy of Don Knotts.
Read Karen’s book TIED UP IN KNOTTS!
Tied Up in Knotts (Chicago Review Press, Sept 2021, cloth: 9781641605120) was positively reviewed in the August 16, 2021 issue of Publishers Weekly (readership: 383,003). The reviewer says “Legendary funnyman Don Knotts (1924-2006) receives a heartwarming tribute in this humorous and intimate debut by his daughter. . . Fans will be rapt.” The complete review follows:
Legendary funnyman Don Knotts (1924–2006) receives a heartwarming tribute in this humorous and intimate debut by his daughter. Since her father’s death in 2006, Knotts, an actor and comedian, has performed a one-woman show honoring her dad—the man who made Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show one of the most beloved characters in television comedy. Here, her act becomes a touching love letter, inviting readers behind the curtain to reveal the shy and kind-natured man she knew as her father. Growing up impoverished in Morgantown, W.Va., Don was, unsurprisingly, popular in high school. After graduating college, he married Knotts’s mother, Kay Metz, and moved to New York, where small roles on television led to his big break with The Steve Allen Show in 1956. When he heard that his former costar Andy Griffith was cast in a new TV series, Knotts convinced “Sheriff Andy Taylor” that he needed a deputy. While Don won over America’s hearts, Knotts watched nearby on set with Ron Howard and other child actors. She depicts this time with a palpable reverence that permeates every memory she recounts, such as being cast in her father’s movies, touring with him in dinner theater, and witnessing the enduring love of his many admirers. Fans will be rapt.”