Carol Burnett Awarded Mark Twain Prize For Comedy


For those old enough to remember the early to middle 1970s, The Carol Burnett show aired every Saturday night at 10:00, following Mary Tyler Moore and The Bob Newhart Show.  While there were many before her and many after her, Carol Burnett’s comic brilliance can only be matched by the late Lucille Ball.  Ms. Burnett, with her comic timing and physical comedic ability, raised the bar to new heights and have yet to be matched.  As a result of her brilliance and long overdue, she received the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for Comedy at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Upon accepting the award, Ms. Burnett joked, “This is very encouraging, it was a long time in coming.” She added: “I understand because there are so many people funnier than I am, especially here in Washington.”  Julie Andrews and Tina Fey performed in her honor.  Fey in a tribute said, “You mean so much to me. I love you in a way that is just shy of creepy.”

Burnett got her start in show business as so many did before her, on the Ed Sullivan Show.  From there, she landed a role on Broadway and began to appear on The Garry Moore Show. That led to Burnett signing a 10-year contract with CBS to do guest slots on sitcoms and perform in one TV special a year. Her brilliant talent resulted in the 1967 Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 11 years and was watched by an average of 30 million viewers per week.  She was a powerhouse at a time when show business was completely dominated by men.  Still is, I suppose but it’s not quite the same.  Co-Star and funny man, Tim Conway paid tribute by saying that he now spends his time travelling around the US for Burnett to receive awards. “Thank you for being such a friend, such a generous person, not with salary, but generous.”  With the risk of sounding very old, they don’t make em’ like Carol Burnett anymore.

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