TV / Video

Carol Burnett recalls the advice Lucille Ball gave her about managing writers, producers

Carol Burnett visited Late Night with Seth Meyers on Thursday night and recalled the times that Lucille Ball guested on Burnett’s hit sketch comedy series, The Carol Burnett Show.

From one red-headed comedy icon running a hit show to another, Burnett recalled how Ball had a mastery of her production that Burnett envied: “Her crew would die for her. She was great. I couldn’t do that.” So if a sketch wasn’t working in rehearsals, Burnett told Meyers that she’d say it wasn’t working for her and ask for the writers to help her. “In those days, if a woman was…she was a bitch. If a guy was…he was forceful and knew what he wanted. So I would tiptoe around,” Burnett recalled.

Burnett said she asked Ball for advice handling her writers and producers. Both were married to their producers, which allowed them to make their husbands the “bad guy” to boss the others around. Burnett said Ball told her that things changed after Lucy divorced Desi and faced her first awful sketch on a new show, The Lucy Show. How she handled that earned her a new nickname from her writers.

Roll the clip!

This clip also includes Burnett telling Meyers how Tim Conway would surprise his co-stars after the first dress rehearsal was filmed for coverage and before the second taping, directing the camera operators what he wanted before he improvised and made the cast crack.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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