Catching Up With a Comedy Legend

For "Good Morning America's" Sam Champion, there was just one star worth the risk of sneaking out past bedtime in order to see:

Carol Burnett, a pioneer for women in comedy and entertainment, who blazed a trail of laughs from stage to TV to feature films.

Just a kid when the show had its run from 1967 to 1978, Champion, like most of America, was watching "The Carol Burnett Show" every Saturday night at 10 p.m.

"That was way past when I should have been watching television," Champion told Burnett when they met recently. "I would sneak downstairs and take a blanket and pillow and turn on the television.

"I would laugh and I would have my face buried in the pillow, so that I didn't get in trouble. My mom later said she knew what I was doing but didn't let on."

Burnett, 74, is hardly resting on her laurels. PBS recently aired a program about her for their "American Masters" series, and a new collector's edition DVD of "The Carol Burnett Show" has just been released, with a new cover designed by Burnett's good friend, designer Bob Mackie. Find out more about the DVD at www.cbshow.com.

Burnett is also working with her friend, the architect Frank Gehry, who is designing the Carrie Hamilton Theater at the Pasadena Playhouse, named in honor of her daughter who died of cancer.

Classic Comedy Moments

Naturally, people are always telling Burnett how funny she is.

"There are times I have seen things that I've done that I did laugh," Burnett told Champion. "But I don't don't say, 'Oh my God, is that fabulous?' I don't do that, no."

One of Champion's favorite sketches is also one of Burnett's -- the legendary "Gone With the Wind" skit, with Burnett playing Scarlett O'Hara.

This Scarlett wore a curtain rod and draperies for a dress, an idea that came from Burnett's longtime costume designer, Bob Mackie.

"[He] showed me the outfit and I fell on the floor myself," Burnett said. "I thought, that is the funniest sight gag I've ever seen. And it was all his genius."

The show itself was a master class in comedic collaboration, with Harvey Korman, Vicky Lawrence and Tim Conway as Burnett's partners in comedy-crime.

Another favorite sketch is Burnett playing Conway's secretary, Mrs. Wiggins, who could never quite master the office intercom.

"That really happened to him," Burnett said of Conway. "He was working somewhere and there was a receptionist and they had gotten one of these machines where you talk, you listen, you talk, you listen. And so that's the first one he wrote about the intercom."

As a final treat, Burnett shared one of her comedy secrets with Champion -- how to do her famed "Tarzan yodel."

"I taught myself," Burnett said. "It's a head-to-toe yodel, that's what it is."

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