Here's video proof that Carol Burnett is TV's most glamorous goofball
Bob Mackie discusses Carol Burnett's walk-on clothes and costumes.
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Sinking into a couch in your favorite comfy clothes can make it easy to forget that many TV shows were taped live, in front of an audience dressed to the nines. On The Carol Burnett Show, where the star famously did question-and-answer sessions with her rapt audiences, Carol Burnett didn't just interact with her suited-up crowd, she basically embodied the ideal audience member.
Glittering in sequined evening gowns, Burnett was usually the first to laugh or gasp when her guests spoke or joked. Not content to politely nod or smile despite her formal attire, Burnett was a living, breathing example of how to react to the sketches and performances on her show, throwing her head back as she laughed, twisting while pumping fists and tossing decorum out the window, all so the crowd would follow suit and do the same.
It's no wonder she became an American treasure: She was all of us onstage, showing how easy it was to let loose even when you're dressed to impress. Of course, it's easy to look so good when you have now-famous designer Bob Mackie helping you pull off your outfits, from the luxury items Carol wore when she walked out to the costumes she donned for laughs in sketch after sketch.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Mackie remembered meeting Burnett for the first time at a rehearsal for a Vegas show he was doing at the time. He said there was a specific reason Carol eyed him for the job of costume designer: “[She] liked what I was doing because I was doing glamour, but I was also doing a lot of comedy clothes. And a lot of designers aren't comfortable doing comedy clothes. They're not sure what that means. They don't know how to get a laugh.”
Mackie's curtain dress certainly proves he didn't share that confusion. He went on, "I loved doing comedy clothes. I adore that. And a lot of people used to think I only did Carol Burnett's walk-out dress in the beginning to say hello to the audience. I don't know who they thought did the other stuff."
And if you're wondering if Carol was as easy to work with for a designer as it was for her costars collaborating onstage, Mackie can assure you, it was. "Carol was amazing to work with." He added, "She would do anything to get a laugh or to make the character look better." And of course, Mackie distinguishes between the looks he did for characters and the gorgeous clothes Burnett wore as a host, "Only when [a look] was for her, really, then we would want to make it look very good."
"Look very good" indeed, watch the video for proof that Carol Burnett is by far TV's most glamorous goofball.