I was so pleasantly reminded of Betty White and her under appreciated body of work after that SNL stunt, that I thought I’d dig into another female comedy great. I’m kinda bummed that these types of variety shows no longer exist. But I do remember how joyful this show made me feel.
The power of the Carol Burnett show was not only about Carol, it was about the ensemble — Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, and Vicki Lawrence. Carol was thunderous. Her bug-eyed stares made everyone fall to the floor laughing. Unlike Betty White’s mischievous twinkle in her eye, Carol was more “in your face”, vaudevillian almost, and seemed plucked out of a Broadway stage. She totally had her own energy and was loud, fun, and really “let go”…
Here’s a mini taste for those unfamiliar with Carol Burnett’s body of work.
Gone with the Wind’s spoof called Went With the Wind. When she walks out with that curtain dress?! Then she says her famous line, “I saw it in the window, and couldn’t resist”. Hahahahahaha.
Watch these 2 women have a “Latin-Off”. Carol Burnett plays mother to Charo. I can’t even put into words some of Carol’s body language in this skit. Some high-grade physical comedy.
This skit seems perfect for todays celeb-obsessed culture… a woman wrapped up in fantasy who’s lost her own identity. Watch her get really “into it” here.
This one is called The Funeral. It’s just good dialogue between 2 people. Comic timing is mint. Two badasses bouncing off each other. If you watch the video, you’ll notice that there are 2 takes for The Funeral. Robin Williams wanted to do it twice in front of the audience so check out his awesome improvisation on round 2.
Then there were her Q&A’s. When the 4th wall broke down. From 1967 to 1978, Carol’s Q&A’s were a highlight of the weekly show. They were warm, interactive, and you always got to see the real Carol Burnett for a few minutes laughing with the audience. It was probably the equivalent of a celebrity Twittering today — the one true moment that she got to engage and stay connected with her fans. She also used to rock alot of Bob Mackie dresses with a cute short bob haircut. If you’ve never seen it, click here to get the vibe of her Q&A’s.
The funny lady stepped off the throne while the show was still popular, at the top of her game — a’la Oprah. The Carol Burnett show lasted a solid 11 years. Props Carol.