Lucille Ball wasn’t just an accomplished comedian. She was also a determined and outspoken star, according to veteran actress Carol Burnett, who sat down with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers on Thursday.
“Was she somebody, that because of her success, not just being in a show but also running a show, was she integral to your understanding of how to do that?” Meyers asked.
“She was able to say things that she felt like a guy would. Like this sketch stinks, let’s fix it,” she answered.
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Burnett said she admired Ball’s straightforward attitude - something she never had.
She starred in her own variety show, “The Carol Burnett Show” between 1967-1978, with nine more episodes airing again in 1991. The show featured Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and guest star turned series regular Tim Conway.
“I would call the writers, and I’d say ‘you know, guys, i’m not doing this very well. Do you think maybe you could help me out here?'”
Burnett said women weren’t forceful in the television industry at that time, which is why she turned to Ball, who already had a reputation for being outspoken.
Ball told Burnett her husband and “I Love Lucy” co-star, Desi Arnaz, would deal with every aspect of the show. But when the two divorced, Burnett said Ball had to take professional matters into her own hands. At that point, Ball was starring in “The Lucy Show” and had to figure out how to deal with writers
“She didn’t know how to deal with it,” Burnett recalled. “She thought about it, came back and she told them what was wrong and how to fix it.”