The Triumvirate
May 30, 2008

As a kid, I rarely paid much attention to what time or channel my favourite shows were on. The local paper's TV guide was often useless for afternoon shows because the little independent stations which played the best stuff often changed their line-ups on the fly.

But the first choice was always, always, always The Carol Burnett show, whatever the incarnation. To be perfectly honest, most of my role models as a kid happened to be male. I think Carol Burnett was perhaps the only female role model I had and I adored her even more for that. She was so genuine when she walked out on the stage and started taking questions from the audience. How I longed to be in the audience and get a few moments of attention from her. Maybe she'd adopt me; maybe she'd mentor me to be just like her; maybe she'd hire me to be on her show. (This was well before I knew how badly I suck at improv comedy - not suck so much as absolutely, positively can NOT stay in character once the audience starts laughing.)

I adored watching my triumvirate of Burnett, Conway and Korman act silly with such panache, with such seriousness - and not taking themselves too seriously. I could watch the same episodes over and over again and laugh my head off every time. It didn't matter that I knew half the lines and all of the gags. Watching their faces, the interplay of personality ... and either Tim or Harvey or Carol starting to crack up as one of the others said or did something the others hadn't quite expected.

The first time I saw one of them start to crack up, I was confused and almost alarmed. My whole life had been very, very structured around The Rules. And everyone knows, you are supposed to stay IN character and not crack up when you are doing a TV show. I was afraid they were going to get in trouble with the network. But as I watched the show and saw how they tried to crack each other up, I could feel my fervent belief in Adhering To The Rules beginning to crack and fade. They were having fun. Sure, they wanted to do a professional job - but they were also genuinely friends and genuinely enjoying cracking each other up.

They were having fun.

Years later, I discovered the TV show Fame - never did see the movie. I adored that show as well. I sympathized with Danny the most, probably. He wanted to be more than he had the talent for and he always seemed a little bit jealous of all of the mega-talents around him. (At least, that's how I remember it.) I loved Doris as well. Just wonderful characters.

I can't remember why I stopped watching it for a while. Maybe the main cast had graduated ... but when I caught an episode later on, I utterly fell in love with the character of Reggie. Thought she was just awesome - someone so herself and fun.

Turns out, that was Carrie Hamilton, Carol Burnett's daughter. I should have guessed.

I was looking forward to following her career ... but cancer took her far, far too early.

And now, of course, the Don of comedy has passed as well. I never wanted to imagine a world without any one of my triumvirate ... but the tall, gentle soul who could don a dress in one skit and a tux in the next and make Carol and Tim both lose it, has gone on without us.

I didn't think it would hit me this hard, losing someone I've never even actually met.

Requiescat in pace.

Posted by Red Monkey at May 30, 2008 1:04 PM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


kris said:

i saw your name on a writer magazine article i was reading...ender? i loved that book.

May 30, 2008 3:21 PM


r.e.wolf said:

When I heard the news this morning, it was a blow. Sad, sad day.

May 30, 2008 6:43 PM


Red said:

It is a sad day, I miss that time when TV had truly funny shows with really good actors. He will be missed that's for sure.

May 30, 2008 10:28 PM
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