Carol Burnett became one of the few women to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor late last month. Fellow comedians including Martin Short, Tina Fey, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler and long-time collaborator Vicki Lawrence filled the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC with high spirits (and no shortage of political jokes) to present the prestigious award to their friend and respected colleague.
Most famous for her highly successful variety show, “The Carol Burnett Show,” Burnett’s eyes were opened to comedy while attending UCLA for Journalism. One acting course changed her aspirations, and a random talent scouting brought her to “The Ed Sullivan Show” singing a comedic rendition about the present secretary of state. This led her to Broadway, “The Garry Moore Show,” and then to a 10-year contract with CBS doing guest spots.
“The Carol Burnett Show” followed in 1967, and although she met a bit of opposition (a woman hosting a variety show was unheard of in the 60s), the show ran for 11 years with over 30 million viewers each week. The show brought fame to Burnett as well as to other cast members- most notably Vicki Lawrence, who gave Carol Burnett credit for starting her career during her ceremonial speech. PBS will air this well-deserved celebration nationwide for the inspirational and buoyant comedienne Sunday, November 24th.