From ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ to ‘Mama’ and Her Battle With CIU, Vicki Lawrence Is Sharing it All

As if getting introduced to the world as a part of The Carol Burnett Show wasn’t enough, actress/singer Vicki Lawrence created a character on that show in the form of “Mama,” that took on a life of its own. Mama, who Vicki describes as the woman who will say everything we can’t, began as a sketch on the 1974 season of that Classic TV variety show, was spun off into her own series, Mama’s Family, and is still very much alive all these years later in the form of the current live Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Women Show, which in actuality is a one-woman show with a split personality.

“I knew when I put it together,” explains Vicki, 70, in an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, “everybody was going to want to see Mama, because they love her so much. For a lot of my fans, she’s real. I often feel like people think that I’m like Superman, running into a phone booth and coming out as Mama. So I knew she had to be a big part of the show. We are two distinctly different women, both of whom, I hope, are funny and entertaining.

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“My half of the show,” Vicki elaborates, “is largely autobiographical, answering pretty much every single question that people would ask me if we were to bump up the lights like Carol used to do and do a question and answer session. Things like, ‘How did you meet Carol Burnett? How in the heck did you have one-hit record? How did you become a redhead? How did you meet your husband? How did Mama come about?’ Just everything they want to hear. What’s interesting is that it seems the further away we get from the Burnett show, the more of a mystery and a special thing it becomes for people. The nature of showbiz has changed so much that people just love hearing how it used to be. Then I take a little break, we run some outtakes from Mama’s Family and then Mama comes out and that’s sort of my chance to be Chris Rock and say all the things that we’re thinking, but you just don’t say because it’s politically incorrect. Well, she’s a crazy old lady and she can get away with anything.”

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