The best in television comedy can be summed up in two words: Carol Burnett.
If you need to be reminded of that, or if you need a good excuse to show a young person how his parents and grandparents laughed out loud without today's R-rated language and adult situations, then tune in to CBS for The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special airing from 7 to 9 p.m. today.
The special marks the golden anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show, which debuted on CBS on Sept. 11, 1967, and starred Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and (later) Tim Conway. Airing for 11 seasons and 276 episodes, the show earned 25 Emmys.
In tonight's special, filmed on the show's original Stage 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, the 84-year-old Burnett will reunite with Lawrence, 68, and Waggoner, 82, as well as the show's costume designer Bob Mackie, 78, to reminisce about their favorite sketches, wardrobe choices and bloopers.
And to continue a favorite feature of the series, they will answer audience questions.
Certain to be discussed is perhaps the most famous sketch of all -- "Went With the Wind, a parody of Gone With the Wind. The sketch, which aired on Nov. 13, 1976, featured Burnett as Starlet O'Hara and Korman as Capt. Ratt Butler. It depicted Miss Starlet making a fancy dress out of the green velvet curtains.
The sight of Starlet descending the stairs with the curtain rod across her back produced one of the most sustained studio audience laughs in TV history. It had to be edited down before airing.
For the record, Mackie's creation, complete with curtain rod, is now on display at the Smithsonian.
Special guests will include Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno, Jane Lynch, Bernadette Peters, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short. They will relate how Burnett's series paved the way for their careers.
"I can't believe how fast the time went, and what makes me the happiest is that so much of the funny stuff we did still holds up today, and we can share it with generations to come," Burnett says in a CBS interview. "What a great ride!"
I was fortunate to meet Burnett in 2006 when the Television Critics Association honored her with a career achievement award. She was as gracious and vibrant as you would imagine. So, grab a young person and watch the special together. It'll be old-school laughs at their finest.
Finally, I'd bet money that Burnett will end the special with a tug on her left earlobe as she did all those years on her show in honor of her grandmother, who raised her.
• Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 5:05 to 7:45 p.m. today on Freeform. Jim Carrey may be stopping by to visit Carol Burnett on CBS today, but he'll first be a green (yak hair dyed green) and curmudgeonly Grinch in this now-classic film that came out in 2000.
The real wonder for me is how director Ron Howard was able to turn a 1957 69-page children's picture book into a film that runs an hour and 44 minutes and cost $123 million to make. Having a bunch of musical numbers helps, including songs by Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds, Smash Mouth, Faith Hill and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Even more amazing, Freeform (the former ABC Family Channel) will take that hour and 44 minutes and fill it with enough commercials to kill two hours and 40 minutes.
That's 56 minutes of commercials in a film intended to criticize the commercialization of Christmas.
Most readers will be familiar with the tale of the Grinch who lived atop Mount Crumpit with his long-suffering dog, Max, and nursed a long-standing resentment against the Christmas-loving Whos of Whoville down below.
Stealing the show is Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), who is 6 years old in the film, not "no more than two."
The film also stars Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon.
• There's more. If you're in the mood for a double dose of Tim Allen, Freeform will follow The Grinch with 1994's The Santa Clause at 7:45 p.m. and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006) at 9:50.
No word as to why they skipped 2002's The Santa Clause 2, but both sequels were pretty bad.
• The Great Christmas Light Fight, 7 p.m. Monday on ABC. The competition is back with six episodes to decide who has the most Christmas spirit (and biggest electric bill). Monday's two-hour Season 5 premiere features a wireless light show, an interactive gingerbread house, fun figurines and giant lollipops, a large property with 78 wrapped trees, a seven-acre drive-through property and a concert of lights with a five-piece band.
The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:
Style on 12/03/2017