André Leon Talley Grills Carol Burnett and Bob Mackie

by Eddie Roche

What could bring Tavi Gevinson, Renée Fleming, and Lance Bass together for a night? Carol Burnett, obvi! On the final night of NYFW, the aforementioned hit The Roxy Hotel (formerly The Tribeca Grand) to spend some QT with living legends Carol Burnett and Bob Mackie to watch a special screening of The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. The upcoming DVD features original broadcast episodes from seasons 1-5 of the iconic show, hand-picked by Burnett with some footage that hadn’t been seen since their original airing more than 40 years ago.

The evening was hosted by The Cinema Society, with founder Andrew Saffir unable to contain his excitement while introducing the screening. “About a month ago, Time Life and Carol’s team called and said, ‘We know this isn’t the usual thing you do, but is there a way you would consider?’ I literally thought I had died and gone to heaven,” Saffir said. “This is a dream come true! Carol, you are to me the greatest entertainer ever, ever!’ Joining Saffir in the Carol appreciation society at Thursday’s screening were Alec Baldwin, RuPaul, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Stipe, Valerie Simpson, Fleming, Phil Donahue, Carson Kressley, Pat Cleveland, Lucy Sykes Rellie, Rachel DratchGeorge Wayne, and Sophie Sumner. After the [hilarious!!!] screening, André Leon Talley sat down with Burnett and Mackie to ask and take a few questions from the audience. Here are a few highlights:

“I watch Carol Burnett every night before I go to bed.” –ALT

“I always wanted to get a laugh if I could and I hopefully managed a few times.” –Bob Mackie

“It looks more like a Halloween party. Is enough enough? Good grief!” –Bob Mackie on the Hollywood red carpet

“I love being physical. I’m not a person to confront or to yell or anything like that. Whenever I would do Eunice or Nora Desmond, I would feel so good. Your body doesn’t know when you are acting! When you’d scream, my body doesn’t know. All week I would be so calm. Even today if I get upset, I’ll go in a room and do the Tarzan yell and I feel so much better.” –CB

“I work from the outside, in. There were times I didn’t know how I was going to do a sketch or character until Bob put me in the outfit.”–CB

“It was difficult to stay in character, especially when someone would go off script, which was often. It was my desire to do it as if it was a live show. We had to stop tape because the scenery had to be moved, but I wanted to keep the audience hot. I’ve done guest shots on sitcoms where it takes five hours to do 20 minutes, which drives me crazy. I wanted it to be like a live show, so if something happened, we go with it.” –CB

“The talent is there to do it! Neil Patrick Harris is very talented. There’s a lot of people who could do it. One of them is here tonight: Kristin Chenoweth. She’s the whole ball of wax. She can sing, dance, and she’s funny as hell. A lot of it is that the networks don’t have much faith in it and you couldn’t do what we did because of the cost. We had 60 to 70 costumes a week!” –CB, on why we don’t have a variety show on TV today

“He looked like a paperboy! He looked like he was 12 years old. He still does!” –CB on first meeting Bob Mackie

“Carol was always in a hurry to get to rehearsal. She was probably my fastest client in the fitting room. I have clients that would just stand and look at themselves in the mirror for hours and hours and were not one to leave. Carol was always, ‘Let’s get it done! I like this! OK! Bye!”–Bob Mackie on fittings with CB


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