"We sent penny postcards to every producer and agent in town inviting them to our show, the postcard being their ticket.
After our two evenings, three of us got agents. It was right out of a Mickey and Judy scene in Babes in Arms, and I thanked my lucky stars that I had seen all those joyous movies growing up, telling me no pipe dream was impossible."~Carol Burnett in This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection
I dont' know where to begin...both when talking about this book...and this marvelous woman. Ready for a stretch? I'm going to try to make this all connect. Okay here we go.
So, like I said...I don't know where to start. Well...as one of the most iconic characters in musical theatre (that just so happens to have been played by Carol's best friend in the timeless film adaptation of The Sound of Music) once said..."Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start."
(For those of you who did not follow that, the character is that of Maria von Trapp [technically Maria Rainer, because at the time that she sings this particular quote, she has not yet married Georg Von Trapp], and Carol's best friend...Julie Andrews.)
Anyway...the beginning to my story with Carol Burnett begins thusly:
My dad, who loved Annie, had bought the VHS of this movie for my brother and I when we were on some road trip as kids. We were hesitant to watch it...it was probably some weird old movie...but we watched it in the backseat of the van on the little TV from the kitchen...and our parents may have experienced the first bout of peace and quiet on the whole trip. Ever since then, I have never been the same.
My pre-acting childhood was, as you can probably guess, filled with impressions of people who WERE actors. Most notably from this time period were Miss Hannigan from Annie and Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. I remember vividly numerous times when Kyle would ask me to do my Miss Hannigan impression for our friends (this was before me doing impressions became old hat...though I've made a comeback with him with Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama).
I absolutely loved the movie. But in all honesty, I cared much more for the villain (Burnett) than the spunky little orphan girl with the dog. I could start rattling off Miss Hannigan lines right now. No...not could...will.
"If this floor doesn't shine like the top of the Chrysler Building your backsides will!"
"But it's in the middle of the night!" (Mocking Annie complaining about cleaning in the middle of the night.)
"Not even a nickel for the subway."
"She hadda go bafroom." (Mocking Molly who is lying about Annie's whereabouts.) I kid you not. Kyle and I would rewind this part and watch it over and over and over again.
Okay, sorry...you probably didn't sign up to read transcriptions of a few of the millions of amazing lines that Carol delivered to perfection as Miss Hannigan....
Anyway...that was the beginning of Carol Burnett for me. Then I watched her variety show whenever I could. I watched her in anything that I could get my hands on. This woman is just plain funny. But then if you read this book...you learn (if you didn't know already) that not only is she funny...she's just plain solid.
This Time Together takes the reader (at least a reader starved for any stories from Carol) through a wonderland of tales from Carol's experiences, not only as a world class comedienne, but as a woman in the world that we all live in together. From the beginning of her story...to where she is today in 2010.
The audiobook is read by Carol herself and the format is similar to the last audiobook adventure that I went on. But while Carol's life did and still does have its ups and downs, I came away from this book much more uplifted than I did from Carrie Fisher's autobiography.
When I heard the passage that I began this post with...it just floored me. It's so awesome to me to be reminded that the people who are living the dream now...were once dreaming a dream just like I am. In the same way...it's awesome to be reminded that the people that I look up to have people that they look up to too. The first chapter of this book is about Jimmy Stewart and the whole time I was thinking "Oh Carol, if you only knew. You are my Jimmy Stewart!" Where a lot of people might brush that off or be like "whoa, back off, I don't know you," I'm pretty sure Carol would be thrilled about that...and maybe a little taken aback at first.
Anyway. The book. This book shines a light on one of my most favorite spotlight dwellers of all time. From The Carol Burnett Show, to Annie, to Mama's Family, to Stephen Sondheim's Putting it Together and many more...Carol has been lighting up my life and the lives of countless others for years. And now, she can just sit and chill, and enjoy her life. Knowing that she's done a billion jobs well done and deserves to make other people do the work for a while she'll probably just slow down...oh wait...what? My sources are telling me something...what was that?
Oh I totally forgot! (That's a lie. I could not forget this.)
Carol is on Glee next week (as Sue Sylvester's Nazi hunting mother, no less)!!!!
If I haven't convinced you to read or listen to the book yet...do it. If anything...it's worth it just to hear about how she got away from a mugger in New York! Yeah...that's right...I'm not telling you...now you have to read it!
Stay Classy Guys,