(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
Months ago, I bought my mom and I tickets to see Carol Burnett's latest show, a traveling Q&A about her life and career aimed at plugging her upcoming book, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (Crown Archetype, September 2016). It was as much a gift to myself as it was to her, and the event ensured I'd visit more than just at Christmas for a change.
Having parted with my original tickets (to my good buddy Shaun and his partner and a mutual friend) in favor of reasonably priced front-row (!) seats, we sat waiting for Carol to emerge, just like we had waited for her show to begin each week over 40 years ago. This time, we were side-by-side. Back then, I was usually at the end of my parents' bed, or even hidden at the foot of it (if I wasn't supposed to be up), where I would sometimes fall asleep and trip my dad in the middle of the night.
I once wrote Carol to tell her it was her fault I didn't have more brothers and sisters, because my parents were too engrossed in her show. I also wrote her to ask her to contribute a one-word description of Madonna for my Encyclopedia Madonnica 20, a request you might think someone of her generation would ignore or even find annoying. Instead, Carol was the very first star to reply—with a handwritten note, no less. Her word? TALENTED!, with the exclamation point.
Now, waiting for Carol to come on, the man we sat next to kept asking me, “Are you excited?” I think he was using me to talk to himself. He also wanted to compare ticket prices, as older men love to do.
What I paid was more than worth it.