Lemme tell you what I mostly know about Carol Burnett…
Along with Lucille Ball she was one of my mother’s favorites. Two looney ladies of the 50s, 60s and 70s – Burnett being the one who did the Tarzan yell.
Coupled with the fact that Thursday’s Burnett show at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts could sell out and the Pitch even recommended it, that speaks volumes for the staying power of the 79 year-old comedy legend.
What to expect? Not your standard issue senior citizen standup comedy show.
Burnett’s 90 minute throw down is – mostly anyway – an anything-could-happen Q&A session with the audience. They ask, she answers. It went down in Tucson recently late last month.
“She spent most of the night with the lights of Centennial Hall lit as she answered questions from audience members,” write the Arizona Star‘s Cathalena Burch.
“There were a couple of requests for hugs from adult fans; Burnett awkwardly declined. One woman told Burnett she had dreamed the night before of giving her a necklace. Another woman said that her father was an artist and he was up in the balcony sketching Burnett and would Burnett sign the sketch after the show; the comedian told her to give it to an usher and she’d be sure to sign it.”
Knowing all too well how mainstream newspaper reviewers leave out the good stuff – the Star’s Robert Trussell didn’t even mention that there was onstage nudity in his review of Hair last week – my hunch is some outlandish questions must have been asked.
And the way I see it, Kansas City can do better.
The trick being to dig a little deeper into some of the uh, livelier high points of Burnett’s 60-year show biz career.
****For example Burnett’s been to the alter no less than three times and is currently sporting a husband 23 years her junior. Which makes her a senior citizen cougar.
Hypothetical questions: Is it difficult keeping up with a 58 year-young husband and is he jealous of actor George Clooney who Burnett joked about having the hots for in Tucson?
****Burnett sued the National Enquirer for libel in 1981 and almost walked away with a cool $1.6 million (the judgement was later reduced to $200,000). All because the tabloid described an episode of her alleged public drunkenness alongside Nixon era Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Hypothetical questions: What was it that women of that time found so darn attractive about Kissinger aside from him being a powerful political dork? And what did she think of TMZ’s headline last November: “Carol Burnett Sued from the Grave Over Home Video Deal?”
****Burnett became best buds with Lucille Ballaround 1966 and received flowers from Lucy every year on her birthday. Including Burnett’s 56th on which she awoke to the news that Lucy had died. Hauntingly, later that afternoon, flowers arrived from Ball with a note that read; “Happy Birthday, Kid. Love, Lucy.”
Hypothetical question: What’s Burnett’s second wildest “I Love Lucy” story?
****Burnett is also very good friends with comedian Jim Nabors of “Gomer Pyle” fame. And Nabors was her first guest every year during her 11 season-long variety show run on television.
Hypothetical questions: What does she think of Nabor’s recent announcement that he’s gay and his marriage to his partner of 38 years in a Seattle hotel room? Did she send him a wedding present and if so, what was it?
That should do it for now. I’ll leave the rest of the questioning to Pitch readers.