Vicki Lawrence was only a teenager when she joined the cast of “The Carol Burnett Show.” Many people saw a striking resemblance between Carol Burnett and Vicki, and the show played into the resemblance. Vicki’s first role was as “Chrissie,” Carol’s younger sister, in the “Carol and Sis” sketch.
“Carol and Sis” was where Vicki learned the ropes. Carol, Harvey Korman, and the rest of the cast and crew taught her all about comedic timing, prop work, and stage direction. “The Carol Burnett Show” ended up being a wonderful, successful place for Vicki Lawrence to nurture and grow her skills.
A Reality Check
Carol Burnett had childhood dreams of being on stage. However, her mother was less than encouraging young Carol’s dreams. Instead of becoming a stage actress, her mother tried to steer her into a writing career. However, her mom did not encourage her to be a writer for the best reasons.
Carol’s mother would always tell her, “No matter what you look like, you can always write, you know.” These passive-aggressive statements made no secret of how Carol’s mother felt about her daughter’s looks. Thankfully, this lack of support at home didn’t dissuade Carol from pursuing her true passion for acting.
When Vicki Met Carol
Vicki Lawrence starred on “The Carol Burnett Show” from 1967 to 1978. However, how she was recruited to join the show is pretty unorthodox. The real life friendship between Carol and Vicki started when Vicki sent Carol a fan letter. Not expecting a reply, Vicki wrote how people always said she looked like she could be Carol’s daughter.
Surprisingly, Carol Burnett actually responded to Vicki’s letter with a phone call. The two connected and they met in real life at a Miss Fireball contest that Vicki was competing in. The two hit it off, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Carol Burnett opened every episode of her show with a Q&A session with the audience. It’s a little-known fact that her husband, Joe Hamilton, was the one who came up with this brilliant idea. In addition to being Carol’s husband, Joe was the executive producer of “The Carol Burnett Show.”
He used the power of his position to break with tradition. Sketch shows usually had a comedian warm up the audience before the show got started. However, Joe was afraid that any male comedian who opened would steal Carol’s thunder. So, he encouraged Carol to break barriers and open the show herself.
Did You Hear That?
Throughout the eleven seasons of “The Carol Burnett Show,” fans grew to know, and love Carol’s iconic Tarzan yell. Her over-the-top yell was unique and hard to copy, making it her signature comedic move. This larger-than-life shout came in handy one day when Carol was out shopping at Bergdorf Goodman.
When she got to the register, Carol realized that she had forgotten her credit card. When she offered to write a check, the cashier said she needed to see an ID. Thankfully for Carol, the store manager recognized her. He said they’d take her payment if she did her Tarzan yell, so Carol bellowed in the middle of the fancy store as loud as she could.