classic tall ugg Speaking of fantasy dinner parties
Carol Burnett has been part of my life as long as I can remember.
I don’t have a bucket list, per se, but I’ve always wanted to write a letter to Carol Burnett, whose show I grew up watching and imitating. The thought of it paralyzes me. You know she gets thousands of letters and has assistants to go through them. Maybe I’d get a form letter back, maybe even an autographed picture of Carol. Maybe Carol as Nora Desmond. I’d take it.
I was born in 1963; The Carol Burnett Show started in 1967. I watched it with my grandmother; I called her Nano. Carol called her grandmother who raised her from the time she was 7 Nanny.
I’ve never been asked the question, but if I could invite three people to a dinner party, I’d pick Carol Burnett, Betty White and Harper Lee. (Let’s just say they have to be alive, so I won’t feel guilty that I didn’t say Jesus.)
If I could have four, I’d bring in Vicki Lawrence, just to see her and Carol do the Mama and Eunice skit from the show. When I was growing up and would go visit Nano and Granddaddy in Piggott, where my mother grew up, one of the girls I played with in the neighborhood would pretend to be Carol Burnett’s character Eunice, and I’d be Mama, whom Vicki portrayed on the show. (And Betty White would guest star sometimes as Eunice’s stuck up sister, Ellen, so that would be perfect.)
I didn’t grow out of my obsession with Carol Burnett as I got older (not to scare you off, Carol). When I was in high school, I remember doing an imitation for my boyfriend’s little sister of Carol Burnett as the old homeless lady on the park bench feeding pigeons. I’d say, “Here, pidgey, pidgey,” in a deep voice with my chin jutted out.
I’ve never played a game of Sorry! in my life without yelling out, “Saaaaaahreeeee,” a la Eunice when I sent someone’s game piece back to home.
It was also fun to pretend to be Mrs. Wiggins, Mr. Tudball’s ditzy blond secretary, whose most prominent feature was behind her.
She was my muse when I played a librarian in a community murder mystery. In that same show, one of the jokes was an old man who came slowly onto the stage, and I tried and failed to get him to walk like The Oldest Man character that Tim Conway played on the show.
If I can have five guests at that fantasy dinner, I want Tim there, too. He’s one of the funniest men on Earth.
It’s not that I know these people personally, as much as I’d love to, but it’s sort of like readers who stop me in the grocery store or email me and feel that they know me because I share my life. Carol Burnett shared a lot of herself through all the crazy characters she played, and we got to know her through questions from the audience.
I have several DVDs of The Carol Burnett Show. I own one of her books, and I’m looking forward to a new one she’s publishing. She was on the cover of Parade in our Sunday paper not too long ago. The cover called her the First Lady of Laughter, and that’s true. It’s hard for me to believe, but she’s 82 now. And she looks a ma zing.
I missed the Screen Actors Guild awards where Carol got the Lifetime Achievement Award much deserved but I was sitting comfortably at my computer, wearing the UGG house shoes I got for Christmas, and I saw Carol’s wonderful red carpet look including her UGG house shoes she wore with her dress.
My husband asked what I was writing my column about, and when I said Carol Burnett, he said, “Your lifelong love
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