Growing up in the seventies wasn’t all bad. Aside from the fact most of us now need the flashlight on our phones to read the ingredients in an energy bar, and we have no idea how to use Instagram, we can be comforted by one totally awesome perk: we got to watch The Carol Burnett Show as it happened.
If you’re young enough to never have used the light on your phone as a reading aid, then I definitely pity you, as all you probably know of Carol Burnett comes from those late night thirty minute infomercials highlighting the dozens upon dozens of classic moments of her now legendary variety show.
For eleven hilarious seasons, from 1967-1978, Ms. Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and Lyle Waggoner gave us some of the most side-splitting and over-the-top funny sketch comedy television has ever seen.
However, the brilliance and once-in-a-lifetime chemistry of the actors aside, what made this show so truly special, IMO, was the selflessness of each performer and how they truly embodied the term “ensemble.”
Given today’s sketch comedy shows (most of which are hilariously unfunny), in which actors battle each other to the death for two minutes of television time, and the general Kardashianist mentality that seems to permeate every facet of our culture, the genuine comradery felt by these legendary masters of humor and team work is made all the more special as time goes by.
It’s worth watching some of Ms. Burnett and co.’s classic clips on Youtube just to hear the sheer joy experienced by the audience. Decades before The Internet, social media, corporate fraud, and 9/11, their laughter is the laugh of unabashed joy, innocence, and total abandonment. Even laughter, itself, is no longer the same.
I haven’t even read the book yet, but without reading a word, I can assure you, you’ll love it.
Thanks, CB. I’m extremely glad we had this time together.
In Good Company hits the shelves Sept. 13.