Katy Perry, Billy Porter, Kristin Chenoweth, Bernadette Peters and Jane Lynch are among the stars who are set to perform on an NBC special, Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love. The two-hour special, to be filmed at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles, is set to air on Wednesday, April 26 – the actual date of Carol Burnett’s 90th birthday — at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It will also stream the next day on Peacock.
Perry has shown a flair for comedy in some of her music videos, such as “California Gurls,” that suggests Burnett’s influence. The photo here, from her Katy Perry: PLAY Las Vegas Residency, also shows Burnett’s anything-for-a-laugh ethos.
Special guests on the show include a mix of longtime colleagues such as Julie Andrews, with whom she taped three TV specials, and Vicki Lawrence and costume designer Bob Mackie from The Carol Burnett Show, and comedy stars from a younger generation, including Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig. Steve Carell and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Also set to appear on the show: Aileen Quinn, Cher, Ellen DeGeneres, Laura Dern, Lily Tomlin, Marisa Tomei, Sofia Vergara and Susan Lucci.
“I’m so excited NBC decided to throw me a birthday party and invited all of my closest friends,” Burnett said in a statement. “I can’t wait to look back at so many wonderful moments throughout my career. I feel so lucky to share this night with everyone.”
“It’s hard to imagine anyone in television more beloved than Carol Burnett,” said Jen Neal, executive vice president, live events and specials, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “To throw this wonderful birthday celebration is clearly our honor, and we can’t wait to share the love that we all have for her with all her adoring fans.”
NBC aired a similar special on the occasion of fellow comedy legend (and frequent Burnett co-star) Betty White’s 90th birthday. The show, Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl, received two Emmy nominations in 2012, including outstanding variety special.
The musical tributes on the special will include Stephen Sondheim’s “Old Friends,” dedicated to Burnett’s six-decade friendship with Andrews; “Only an Octave Apart,” which Burnett sang alongside opera star Beverly Sills on the 1976 television special Sills and Burnett at the Met; Burnett’s songs from the 1982 film Annie; and a tribute to her famous theme song, “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” from The Carol Burnett Show. The song, which was pitch-perfect for Burnett’s voice and persona, was written by Joe Hamilton, her ex-husband and the show’s producer.
The special will share memorable moments from Burnett’s career, including her Broadway debut in Once Upon a Mattress (her first Tony nomination), her work as a regular on The Garry Moore Show (her first Emmy Award), her hit films — The Four Seasons, A Wedding, Pete ‘n’ Tillie and Annie — and of course The Carol Burnett Show (three Emmys for outstanding comedy-variety or music series).
Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love is executive produced by Burnett; her husband, Brian Miller; Steve Sauer, Paul Miller and Baz Halpin, and Mark Bracco & Linda Gierahn of Silent House Productions.
Though Burnett made her mark in comedy, she has sung throughout her career. She put two albums on the Billboard 200 – Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, an album from her first TV special with fellow legend Andrews, and Carol Burnett Featuring If I Could Write a Song, a 1972 studio album. She has also been featured on other Billboard 200-charting albums, including the original cast albums to Fade Out – Fade In and Follies in Concert, and the film soundtrack to Annie.
Burnett’s many awards include six Emmys, a special (non-competitive) Tony Award in 1969 and a Grammy for the audiobook of In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox, which won six years ago for best spoken word album.
In 1985, she became the second woman inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame – her pal Lucille Ball was (fittingly) the first. In 2003, Burnett received the Kennedy Center Honors; in 2005, the Presidential Medal of Freedom; in 2013, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor; and in 2015, the Screen Actors Guild’s life achievement award.
In 2019, she was the first recipient of the Carol Burnett Award, honoring achievements in television, at the Golden Globes. The award has since been presented to DeGeneres, Norman Lear and Ryan Murphy.
Post comments (0)