Vicki Lawrence, brilliant of The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family, allotment to TV in the Fox ball alternation The Air-conditioned Kids, airing Fridays. Lawrence, 69, plays Margaret, who joins a accumulation of men (Martin Mull, David Alan Grier and Leslie Jordan) livin’ it up at a retirement community.
Were you one of the air-conditioned kids in aerial school?
I don’t anticipate so. I was big in the music department, but I don’t anticipate that able as a air-conditioned kid. I was additionally a cheerleader, but I absolutely didn’t feel actual cool.
What is Margaret’s story?
She’s been about the block a few times and doesn’t booty acknowledge off any guy. I anticipate she’s a troublemaker, but with a blink in her eye.
Can this be compared to Golden Girls, accession accumulation of TV retirees accepting fun?
Maybe an adapted Golden Girls. The guys get agitated with me if I say that because they say it’s not. I achievement we’ll be edgier and a little crazier than Golden Girls.
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What’s it like to assignment with the predominantly macho cast?
I accept consistently said I’d abundant rather adhere out with the guys and watch a football d than sit with the girls and altercate area they got their dress or what blush attach brightness that is.
Carol Burnett’s still working. What about her as a bedfellow star?
I’d adulation it. Everybody said, “Who would be your dream bedfellow star?” I said, “Carol’s the accessible choice.”
How air-conditioned is the ball on this?
We’ve got an controlling producer—Charlie Day—from It’s Consistently Sunny in Philadelphia. I didn’t apperceive him aback I auditioned, so I’ve been binge-watching Charlie Day and he is aloof ridiculously funny—stupid, asinine funny—and I achievement he will accumulate The Air-conditioned Kids that way: Accumulate us accepting into all kinds of agitation that we shouldn’t, because we’re asinine and we’re crazy.
How do you feel about old-people jokes? Or maybe the jokes will be jokes that assignment for any age?
Hopefully, yeah. Although we’ve been acquainted in the promos that everybody seems to anticipate Pepto-Bismol is absolutely an old thing. The added day, we did a photo shoot and the affair were alleged Peptoccinis. We’ll see. It’s OK if it’s funny. Funny is funny.
I’m hopeful that this is activity to be like aerial academy but in your ’70s. A lot of things I acquisition don’t anytime absolutely change, like who’s the coolest, who’s the prettiest, who’s the sassiest, who’s in charge.
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Had you formed with any of your macho co-stars previously?
I didn’t apperceive any of these guys, but they’re all so talented. There are no divas on the set. It’s like Leslie said a few weeks ago, “We’ve all been about the block so abounding times, we’re dizzy.” And I was talking to Martin one night and he said, “I feel like I’ve had this admirable career. It’s been great, and aback this happens aback you’re my age, it’s aloof like the blooming on top.” I said, “I know. It’s aloof so nice. It’s such a gift.” We’re all so beholden for the allowance that we’re all out there to accept a acceptable time.
Is there anyone on the autograph agents old abundant to bethink the things that you four characters are activity to accept to know?
We, the cast, talked about this a little bit. We said, “They’re activity to be autograph from a angle of actuality they’ve seen, like The Golden Girls, but not from claimed experience. I said “Maybe their parents, maybe grandparents.” They said, “Yeah, but no claimed experience.” The writers absolutely suggested, “Let’s get together. We appetence to aces your academician because you guys are the ones that are activity through it.” So we’re activity to get calm and accept a little dinner.
Do you feel like the time is appropriate for the show, that there’s article in the ability that makes this the absolute timing?
Definitely. It’s all over the news. The boomers are the better allocation of the citizenry appropriate now. We outnumber the adolescent citizenry by absolutely a bit. You apperceive how they do the ads and they say you’re not in the ambition demo? Well, we’re the ones with some money.
Right. And the ones that watch TV on a TV.
Yes. We’re the ones that sit at home and watch TV. They say they’re not targeting an earlier admirers because old bodies don’t change their minds. I try new actuality all the time. I anticipate that’s wrong.
I anticipate added and more, you’re seeing the ball industry targeting that admirers with some appealing funny stuff. Like Last Vegas and The Bucket List, they’re accomplishing movies now with earlier casts. The old bodies are admirable and funny.
On the added hand, it’s consistently a acceptable time for aloof funny. I feel like a lot of sitcoms accept gotten added like dramedies; not aloof asinine for silly’s sake. Bodies say to me that they watch Mama’s Family all the time because it’s aloof silly. You get to beam for no acceptable acumen and, consequently, it’s a lot of people’s accusable pleasure. Probably that’s absolutely what this will be; aloof asinine for silly’s sake, not too message-y.
In addition, you accept a one-woman appearance that absolutely is alleged A Two-Woman Show.
I anticipation that was a absolutely able title. I laughed out loud aback we came up with that. Isn’t that cute, A Two-Woman Show?
How was the abstraction born?
A little accumulation of bodies that I absolutely assurance put the appearance calm on the heels of the aboriginal Carol Burnett reunion, which was huge. That aired anon afterwards 9/11 and it was appealing bright that America capital to bethink and they capital to be comforted. The appetence for Burnett was voracious.
Harvey [Korman] and Tim [Conway] had been on the alley accomplishing a appearance calm and had a lot of success. I bethink Harvey saying, “I’ve been adage this to you for years. You allegation to go out. You allegation to put a appearance calm and get out there. You can do whatever you want. Cipher can acquaint you what to do. If you don’t feel like accomplishing article one night, you don’t accept to do it.” He said, “It’s castigation and you’re in charge, and I absolutely anticipate you’d accept a bang accomplishing it. I anticipate it would be a success.”
I knew aback I put it calm that Mama had to be a big allotment of it because everybody loves her. I generally feel like if I’d abatement off the face of the apple and as continued as Mama’s around, cipher would absence me. Bodies ask me area she is all the time like she’s declared to be with me.
I apperceive how abundant bodies adulation her, like she’s a absolute person, so I knew she had to be a big allotment of the show. I said to my autograph accomplice and everybody that was allowance me, “I allegation to be me afore I’m not anymore,” if you apperceive what I mean.
My bisected of the appearance is abundantly autobiographical. It’s all the things that bodies would ask me if we were to do questions and answers like Carol did, like how I met Carol, how I became a accustomed redhead, how in the hell did I accept one huge hit record, how did Mama happen, how did I accommodated my husband—it’s aloof all the fun actuality that’s happened to me. I acquisition that bodies adulation audition all the old stories.
I was afraid to apprentice that Mama was originally declared to be Carol, not you.
Right. They wrote it for her, acquiescently wrote it for her. There were two writers. They both came from abortive families, so they wrote this admirable admiration to their abortive upbringings. Carol said, “I don’t feel it. I’m activity Eunice.” They were actual upset, and aback she said, “I anticipate Vicki should comedy Mama,” they were doubly upset.
Then Carol said, “I anticipate we should do this Southern, because it is aloof annihilation if not Tennessee Williams on acid.” We did it Southern and the aboriginal time they saw it in the run-through, the writers actually threw bottomward their pads and pencils and stormed out. They said, “You’ve broke it.” And Carol said, “It’s the way I appetence to do it. It’s the way it’s activity to go on the air.” Obviously, it got such abundant feedback, they concluded up accepting to address new actual over and over again.
The fun affair about arena Mama is she can say whatever she brand and gets abroad with it.
I’ve consistently said she reminds me of Archie Bunker, who said whatever was on his mind. We all apperceive an Archie Bunker. We all accept one in our lives, so it’s fun that we can band over it. I said, “Everybody’s got a Mama that sits at the Thanksgiving table and says article aloof alarming and you beam about it while you’re accomplishing the dishes.”
Did any of Mama rub off in your absolute life?
I accept to say I anticipate I accede with Mama a little added as I get older.
You had an abnormal alpha to your career. You started at the top with Carol.
I was 18 aback I started on the Burnett Show. I went through UCLA, I went through a bad aboriginal marriage, I begin [second husband] Al [Schultz] and I had both my kids on that show. Most bodies would accede that 20 to 30 is a huge growing period. I was 18 to 29 on that show.
What was it like for you aback The Carol Burnett Appearance ended?
Actually, aback it was over, Al and I awash actually aggregate but the kids and confused to Hawaii because I anticipation I capital to be Mom. I anticipation I ability appetence to accessible a little boutique, because I adulation clothes and I adulation shopping. I said, “Wouldn’t that be fun?” Al anticipation maybe he would adulation to accessible a restaurant.
We were crazy. We were dreamers and we were crazy. We actually up and went to Hawaii and lived there for a year. It was at a time aback the abridgement was a little sketchy, so thankfully for us, we did not anytime accessible a business, and I absolutely begin that I wasn’t blessed actuality aloof Mom. I acquainted like I bare to be me in there somewhere, not aloof Mom.
So we were there actually a year. We got off the even and I adapted Thanksgiving banquet in Hawaii for the accomplished family. Everybody came over to advice ameliorate and I got to baker Thanksgiving dinner. And again we confused home and I adapted Thanksgiving banquet for that aforementioned agglomeration of ingrates. I acquaint you it was about absolutely a year.
Al angry over in bed one night in Hawaii and said, “Are you blessed here?” I started crying, “No, I appetence to go home.” I’m an L.A. girl. Hawaii is like active in a very, actual baby town. If you appetence the best museum, you appetence to go over to Honolulu. If you appetence to go to the best orthodontist, you’re absolutely activity to Honolulu. If you appetence the best school, you’re activity to the added ancillary of the island. It’s a little bit catchy active in Hawaii.
I came aback with a accomplished new acknowledgment for the freeway and the actuality that if you appetence to go see the ballet tonight, you can.There’s a lot of actuality in L.A. at your fingertips that you maybe don’t acknowledge until you lose it.
You’re starting a aboriginal job that could, if you’re lucky, go seven years, maybe more. Do you anytime anticipate about retiring?
I don’t, because I adulation what I do. Al’s accompany will say to him all the time, “When are you activity to let Vicki retire?” He consistently says, “They aloof don’t apprehend that this is your golf. This is what you love.” It is. It’s such a nice allowance to be able to accomplish bodies laugh. Showbiz is so abundant fun. I feel like I abstruse from Carol absolutely what it should be. You get paid for arena dress-up and blind out with a lot of fun people. If you’re accomplishing it right, that’s the way it is and there’s annihilation added fun in the world. It beats the hell out of working.
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