No main stream comics were doing what Winters did in the 60's. He got laughs not from setups and punchlines but from allowing his set of weird characters to simply be "themselves".
He loved creating the "ackward moment". No one was doing that back then. He would have one of his characters say something really weird and then watch the reaction he'd get, then he would go from there.
I thought he was at his best doing sketches on variety shows and the talk shows. He was great with Carson. In fact Carson's "Aunt Blabby" character was a direct cop on "Maude Frikert".
Winters, like Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, and a scant few others changed American comedy with their presence.
RIP, Elwood, Maude, Lamar, and the rest.