“My mother was very funny. My dad had a great sense of humor. My grandmother, too.”

Quotes by Carol Burnett

  1. Adolescence is just one big walking pimple.
  2. As far as sitcoms go, I thought Jenna Elfman in ‘Dharma and Greg’ was a wonderful physical comedienne who had great timing.
  3. Ask anyone who’s successful how they got there, you’re going to hear a different story.
  4. Because nobody goes through life without a scar.
  5. Because of YouTube, I’m getting fan mail from 10-year-olds and teenagers and college kids.
  6. But I didn’t ask to have somebody nose around in my private life. I didn’t even ask to be famous. All I asked was to be able to earn a living making people laugh.
  7. But I don’t begrudge anybody, because I know how hard it is to have that dream and to make it happen, whether or not it’s just to put a roof over your head and food on the table.
  8. Celebrity was a long time in coming; it will go away. Everything goes away.
  9. Comedy is tragedy – plus time.
  10. Edgy is fine – I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination – but what’s wrong with a good ol’ belly laugh? I miss that.
  11. Everybody I know who is funny, it’s in them. You can teach timing, or some people are able to tell a joke, though I don’t like to tell jokes. But I think you have to be born with a sense of humor and a sense of timing.
  12. Funny is funny. I dare anyone to look at Tim Conway and Harvey Korman doing the dentist sketch, which is more than 40 years old, and not scream with laughter.
  13. Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head.
  14. I am not a joke-teller. Stand-up, I couldn’t do.
  15. I am not a person who yells at all, but I realized that I have always felt so good after doing the Tarzan yell, after doing Charo, or screaming as Eunice.
  16. I can’t tell a joke to save my soul. It’s just not my thing, though I love to listen to jokes.
  17. I come from Texas, and my grandmother and mother were born in Arkansas.
  18. I didn’t really get comfortable until I got to UCLA, and I had to take an acting course because I was studying theater arts.
  19. I do the ‘New York Times’ crossword puzzle every morning to keep the old grey matter ticking.
  20. I do think there are some great female comics: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph. They’re the whole ball of wax.
  21. I don’t eat much meat, fish, or poultry.
  22. I don’t have false teeth. Do you think I’d buy teeth like these?
  23. I don’t watch sitcoms. I really don’t. My problem with them is they take so long to film them that there’s no spontaneity. I want to see that.
  24. I eat very well, and I do Pilates.
  25. I had a good loud voice and I wasn’t afraid to be goofy or zany.
  26. I had always been quiet and studious in school. I was the high school editor of the newspaper.
  27. I had it in my contract with CBS, a very weird clause that was never written before and certainly not since, that if I wanted to do a variety show within the first five years of the contract, CBS would have to put it on for 30 shows.
  28. I have a great memory.
  29. I have an iPhone, and I can text, and I can use the phone, and I can even take pictures with it.
  30. I liked myself better when I wasn’t me.
  31. I love ‘Modern Family.’ And I love ‘Glee’ – the singing, the music – Jane Lynch just kills me.
  32. I love Maya Rudolph. She’s very multitalented herself.
  33. I love audiences.
  34. I love the writing. I love the idea of typing and seeing it on the computer and printing it out myself and, you know, moving sentences around. I like that.
  35. I love to write. I have always loved writing. That was my first love.
  36. I loved doing ‘The Family’ with Eunice and Mama. They were very interesting because there were no jokes written into those sketches. It was all character-driven. And sometimes it got a little heavy.
  37. I loved the Kennedy Center Honors because you just sit there, smile, wave, and cry.
  38. I never felt cynical, and I never felt that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.
  39. I never regretted turning down anything, I never regretted losing a job because I always felt something else was out there.
  40. I prefer doing TV, where it can be different every time.
  41. I really enjoy connecting with the audience.
  42. I struggled for a while, but when I was cast in an Off Broadway show called ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ that kind of put me on the map.
  43. I think the hardest thing to do in the world, show-business-wise, is write comedy.
  44. I think the reason I was successful is that I was never cynical.
  45. I very much enjoyed doing ‘Law & Order,’ playing a killer – that was fun, and they had a family feel around the set, so it was a happy show to do even though the subject matter was quite the opposite.
  46. I wanted to be on Broadway, but in musical comedy.
  47. I was in California, and I was going to UCLA, and I knew I certainly didn’t have movie star looks. I remember seeing pictures and photos of Ethel Merman and Mary Martin, who were kind of average looking. I said, ‘Well, that’s for me, then, to go back to New York and try to be in musical comedy on Broadway.’
  48. I was kind of shy as a kid. I was a pretty good student. I was a wallflower, or nerd, if you will.
  49. I was once asked to do my Tarzan yell at Bergdorf Goodman, and a guard burst in with a gun! Now I only do it under controlled circumstances.
  50. I was raised going to the movies with my grandmother as a kid. And then I’d come home, and my best friend and I would act out the films that we saw.
  51. I was very entertained by Betty Grable and Judy Garland.
  52. I wish my mother had left me something about how she felt growing up. I wish my grandmother had done the same. I wanted my girls to know me.
  53. I’m glad I was born when I was. My time was the golden age of variety. If I were starting out again now, maybe things would happen for me, but it certainly would not be on a variety show with 28 musicians, 12 dancers, two major guest stars, 50 costumes a week by Bob Mackie. The networks just wouldn’t spend the money today.
  54. I’m hooked on Glenn Close in ‘Damages.’
  55. I’m into ‘House of Cards.’ ‘Breaking Bad’ – my God, did I binge on that!
  56. I’m like your mother, your sister, whatever.
  57. I’m not a person who likes to confront.
  58. I’m not always optimistic. You wouldn’t have all cylinders cooking if you were always like Mary Poppins.
  59. I’m really not that funny in real life! But I am the best audience one could find. I love to laugh.
  60. I’m so happy with what has happened in my life.
  61. I’ve always been able to recount things, and I have a really good memory about dialog and what people have said before and this and that.
  62. I’ve always been optimistic. And I have a feeling that it happened because of going to all those movies with my grandmother in the ’40s because there was no cynicism.
  63. If I go to a party, I’m not one to be the funniest person in the room at all.
  64. In ’57, I got a job at the Blue Angel nightclub, and a gentleman named Ken Welch wrote all my material for me. I lived at a place called the Rehearsal Club that was actually the basis for a play called Stage Door.
  65. It all happened the way it was supposed to. I wouldn’t change anything. I had such a great run.
  66. It costs a lot to sue a magazine, and it’s too bad that we don’t have a system where the losing team has to pay the winning team’s lawyers.
  67. It’s almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington.
  68. It’s also selfish because it makes you feel good when you help others. I’ve been helped by acts of kindness from strangers. That’s why we’re here, after all, to help others.
  69. It’s not a bad thing to be able to do many things onstage. If you’re an entertainer, you should be able to entertain. I’m proud to say that I’m not a one-trick pony.
  70. Jimmy Stewart and Lucille Ball were so unique.
  71. Just scream! You vent, and the body just feels good after a good old yell.
  72. Kristin Wiig I think is brilliant.
  73. My childhood was rough, we were poor and my parents were alcoholics, but nobody was mean. I knew I was loved. We were on welfare, but I never felt abandoned or unloved.
  74. My favorite is doing the television show, as a variety show, every week. If the show wasn’t that great one week, we could always come back and apologize, you know?
  75. My favourite comedian, of course, is Tim Conway. He has a way about him – being that belly-laugh kind of funny, and he has the improvisational skills, too. I’ve never seen anybody better.
  76. My first book was an open letter to my three daughters.
  77. My grandmother and I followed my mother here, to a house a block north of Hollywood Boulevard but a million miles away from Hollywood, if you know what I mean. We would hang out behind the ropes and look at the movie stars arriving at the premieres.
  78. My grandmother and I saw an average of eight movies a week, double features, second run.
  79. My grandmother and I would go see movies, and we’d come back to the apartment – we had a one-room apartment in Hollywood – and I would kind of lock myself in this little dressing room area with a cracked mirror on the door and act out what I had just seen.
  80. My interesting diet tips are eat early and don’t nosh between meals. I mean, I can pack it away.
  81. My mother was very funny. My dad had a great sense of humor. My grandmother, too.
  82. My preference is for people who can do sketch comedy or situational comedy, where it’s not a joke, but it’s telling a story.
  83. On the good days, my mother would haul out the ukulele and we’d sit around the kitchen table – it was a cardboard table with a linoleum top – and sing.
  84. Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.
  85. Originally, I came from Texas, and we lived on – I guess you’d call it welfare, what we called relief.
  86. Steve Martin in ‘All of Me,’ when he did that whole thing where he was possessed by the spirit in his body? It was brilliant.
  87. We all get where we’re going by circuitous journeys, and some of the setbacks are warranted.
  88. We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.
  89. Well, I don’t know how astute I am, but I did want to be a journalist when I was growing up.
  90. What I like to write about is stuff I know. I don’t think I could write a novel. I don’t think I have it in me to come up with those kinds of characters.
  91. When I left ‘The Garry Moore Show,’ I signed a 10-year contract with CBS.
  92. When I was in college at UCLA, I took a playwriting course. I was all set to be a writer. But I had to take this acting class as a theater arts major. I had to do this scene in a one-act comedy. I just said this line, and then… this laugh happened. I thought, ‘Whoa. This is a really good feeling. What have I been missing?’
  93. When I was starting out in this business, that was the norm. You did it all. You looked around, and entertainers could dance, sing, play the piano, act, make you laugh.
  94. When I went to New York to try and make it, I never thought it wouldn’t happen.
  95. When things are a disappointment, try not to be so discouraged.
  96. When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.
  97. Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.
  98. You have to go through the falling down in order to learn to walk. It helps to know that you can survive it. That’s an education in itself.
  99. You have to really want it, and don’t take it personally if you don’t get a job. Because sometimes you’re not the type. And sometimes it’s somebody else’s turn.
  100. You know, one wonderful thing that came out of my Enquirer experience is that, in my case, it was ruled tabloids are magazines. Which means they didn’t have the protection that a newspaper has.

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