Carol Burnett chats about her early days as a con artist and her incredible agent
Watch clips from a charming and emotional Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special.
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This past weekend was a glorious one for fans of Carol Burnett. CBS celebrated the comedy legend, airing a 50th Anniversary Special of The Carol Burnett Show. The special delivered laughter, tears, songs, anecdotes and reunions. Additionally, Burnett was on a CBS talk show to reflect upon the milestone and share more delightful stories.
On Friday evening, the 84-year-old appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, inside the Ed Sullivan Theater, where some of the The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special was filmed. Burnett talked about her earliest days in New York, and confessed that she was a bit of a con artist. It's more innocent than it sounds.
In the 1950s, she was working as a hat check girl at a ladies' tea room. "That's how bright I was," she noted. "Women don't check their hats." She went on to explain her simple con to Colbert.
"It was called Susan Palmer's Tea Room, but they had an oyster bar downstairs that the men would go to. So in order to get a tip, I would grab the men as they were going downstairs and say, 'Check your coat, sir?' So they'd give me their coat," Burnett said. "And then I would take a scissors… and you know the little thing in the back? The hand tab? I'd cut that off. And then I would resew it with another color thread. So when they would come back up and ask for their coat, I would say, 'This was broken, but I fixed it for you.'"
Instead of getting a quarter, they'd give her an extra dime. "I'd get 35¢ for that," she proudly proclaimed. She went on to praise her agent, who secured his client a brilliant contract. Thanks to that contract, The Carol Burnett Show was put on the air. CBS was obligated to produce the show for her, though the network tried to convince her that variety shows were "a man's game." Take a look at the full story:
Two nights later, CBS aired an emotional The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special. The show began with — what else? — an ear tug. Oh, and Pat Boone. Watch:
Throughout the special, a younger generation of comedians gushed over the influence of Carol Burnett and her friends, talents like Harvey Korman and Tim Conways. There were some touching cast reunions, too. Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner sat on the couch to share their memories. Here is Vicki recalling her first encounter with Carol:
The sketches and performers were just as hilarious and heartwarming half a century later.
Continue to celebrate the best of this brilliant show by watching Carol Burnett and Friends on MeTV.