TV icon Carol Burnett, accepting a new special lifetime achievement Golden Globe award named in her honor, expressed gratitude not only to those who bestowed the honor but to the fact that her career unfolded when it did: Her beloved sketch comedy series The Carol Burnett Show wouldn’t stand a chance of landing on TV today, she said in her acceptance speech.
“Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about being young again and doing it all over,” said Burnett, “then I bring myself up short” by realizing that “what we did then couldn’t be done today.” The cost, she continued, would be prohibitive – no network would pay each week for a full orchestra, 12 dancers, numerous costumes, co-stars and two guest stars.
“Networks just wouldn’t spend the money,” she told the Globes audience. “Sad to say today’s audiences might never know what they’re missing, so here’s to reruns and YouTube.”
Burnett’s speech, though, was anything but bitter. At times she seemed choked up as she recalled “11 joy-filled years” with co-stars Harvey Korman, Vickie Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway. She praised the show’s chemistry both onscreen and behind the scenes.
“We’ve been granted a gift,” she told the Globes audience, “a canvas to paint with our talents, one to make people laugh, or cry or maybe do both.” She dedicated her award to “all those who made my dream come true and all those out there who yearn to be part of this medium…”
Steve Carell, presenting the new award (a lifetime achievement honor equivalent to the Globes’ Cecil B. deMille Award Award in the film category), called his Globes duty “the greatest honor of my life.”
After listing Burnett’s previous award accomplishments – the Mark Twain Prize, a Kennedy Center Honor, Emmys, among others – the former The Office star got bleeped when he quipped that Burnett is so “funny and gracious and kind” that she makes Tom Hanks look [censored]. Who knows what he said, but Burnett looked charmed, no surprise considering she once delighted audiences by telling Garry Shandling onscreen that she could see his testicles.
Burnett began her speech by asking if she could win every year (it is named for her, after all), then recounted her youthful infatuation with movies and TV, and marveled at her childhood dreams coming true.
She ended, of course, by reminding the audience that she is, indeed, “so glad we had this time together,” and then, in the trademark gesture that was both expected and poignant, she tugged her ear.
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