Need a good laugh? In 1967, we were introduced to the “Carol Burnett Show.” Not only was Burnett a great comedian. She was a trail blazer for women.
We do not have variety shows anymore. The tradition came from a vaudeville-style of entertainment that had been a part of live-theater performances starting in the 1880s. A typical show consisted of some singing, some dancing and some comedy sketches. Many of our early television stars came from vaudeville and the variety-style of show had become popular on TV. In the mid-1960s, variety was being phased out.
CBS had a ten-year contract with Carol Burnett. The network believed only men could be successful at a variety show. They offered Burnett a half-hour comedy series called “Here’s Agnes.” Burnett’s contract required that they give her one season of whatever kind of show she wanted to make. The hour-long Carol Burnett Show debuted in September 1967.
The show lasted 11 years. Most of the time, TV shows just disappear and are replaced with others. Burnett actually got to say goodbye to all of us after her show was picked up for another season but she decided it was time to quit. Here is the last part of her last show.
Carol Burnett is 84 now. She is still active in show business. Here she is with late night host Stephen Colbert, making sure her signature gags are still hers.