Julia Gets Wise with Carol Burnett
On the season finale of Wiser Than Me, Julia sits down in person with 90-year-old groundbreaking actress, comedian, and writer Carol Burnett. Carol tells Julia how she learned to accept rejection, what Lucille Ball taught her about being a boss, and how a spontaneous ride on a beer truck led to her landing a CBS special with Julie Andrews. And Carol gives Julia a compliment that makes Julia cry, which leads to a touching conversation between Julia and her mom Judith.
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Judith Bowles, Carol Burnett
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 00:00
How much fun is it to laugh? I think laughing is just the greatest little gift from the gods. I don’t know if you have this, but I have certain people in my life that I laugh so hard with that I cry. There is nothing better. And, you know, I mean, it’s not like you can exactly wake up and say, I’m gonna laugh my ass off uncontrollably today, you know, the kind of deep soul rocking laughter You can’t plan it, it kind of sneaks up on you. And it can be very surprising. You know, the laughing at a funeral kind of laughing You know, you’re not allowed to laugh makes it worse. It’s a mysterious, and it’s a truly wonderful thing. As a performer, there’s this weird sense playing a comic scene sometimes. It’s like you’re several people all at once you’re deeply into the scene. Yes. But you’re also in your head, sort of controlling the scene, and then you’re also outside of watching the scene. And when it’s a comedy, and it’s going really well, at least for me, that deep kind of laughter can just bubble up and God dammit, it is impossible for me to stop it. I crack up I lose it. I mean, if you’ve ever seen any of those blooper reels that they have online from Veep, or Seinfeld, my contribution is ruining scene after scene with hysterical laughter. And I have to say sometimes it’s, it’s horrendous, because you can see the other actors not believing that I have just ruined another tape. You can see them getting a tad irritated with me. Which I guess is understandable. There’s one scene though, on Seinfeld, where the great and I do mean, the great Jerry Stiller who played Georgia his father, of course, he and I are having a kind of a confrontation. And he says, What the hell does that mean? And the way he said it? I just lost it. My Georgia isn’t clever enough to hatch a scheme like this. You got that? Right. Does that mean? What the hell? Okay, let’s go. Let’s go. I mean, I never got through it. We did like a million takes. There was never one in which I didn’t weep with laughter or at the very least I was, you know, whimpering uncontrollably. I had to turn my head away from camera. I was digging fingernails into my palms. I never got it together. I can’t tell you how much fun that was. It’s just inexpressible. And it really only happens when things are singing. You know, it’s the expression of joy at being on a team that is hitting every fucking shot. That’s really the best part, the team part. I’m not a religious person. But if there’s a heaven, please let it be that please, please. Total, deep uncontrollable laughter with a great team with great friends. As I sit here right now, I am so grateful to think that there is going to be another time maybe even today when I am laughing so hard that I can’t control it. Because you know, Jesus. That’s just that’s what it’s all about. How wonderful How delightful how right it is then that for the last episode of this season, have wiser than me today. I get to talk to Carol Burnett. Hi, I’m Julia Louie Dreyfus. And this is wiser than me the podcast where I get schooled by women who are wiser than me. Okay, this is it. Today I am talking to Carol Burnett. I’m already crying. Oh, it’s true. I love you too much. There’s just absolutely nobody like Carol. Nobody. There is no way to even measure what she has meant to television comedy, much less what she’s been to women in television, comedy and much less, which he has meant to me in television, Comedy Side note, everything. everything she’s done it all from starring on Broadway nearly seven dead Cades ago and Once Upon a Mattress to her seminal variety show, The Carol Burnett Show that was a mega super hit hit. I’ve gotta get my shit together. I’m falling apart. That was it was a mega super hit for 11 years on CBS and made her a household name to great dramatic performances to the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a billion Emmys, a Tony Grammy, writing a ton of books and bringing untold joy and laughter to millions and millions of people. She has a fascinating, heroic personal story that she’s been brave enough to share. She’s just one of the most well known most beloved performers in the history of entertainment. And man, is she wiser than me? I am so lucky to say welcome, Carol. I love you.
Carol Burnett 05:52
I love you, too. As we said, when I came into the room just now last time, I saw you, I was thrilled to open the envelope. And the image goes to me now.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 06:06
To have you do that, and to be there with you. I have a picture of you and me and Norman Norman. And it’s so cherish. It’s such a cherished treasure. So Carol, are you comfortable? If I say your real age? Of course. Yes. And so what is your real age?
Carol Burnett 06:25
The big 9 oh.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 06:29
And how old do you feel?
Carol Burnett 06:30
11? I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s gone so fast. You know, but as I’ve been saying before, I’ve got all my parts. I have my hips. I have my knees, and I got my brain. So I’m really fortunate.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 06:49
You are so fortunate. What has surprised you the most by getting older.
Carol Burnett 06:55
That I got older? I mean, yeah, you know, I remember when I was growing up. My grandmother was raising me, right? Yes. And but she would never tell me how old she was. Ever. She said she wouldn’t tell anybody else she would. But I was living with her. And her mother, my great grandmother. Yes. In Texas. Yes. I was about five. I guess it wasn’t. So I got my great grandmother. Yeah, to tell me. I said please. You kind of tell me how old Danny is. And she said, Oh, she’ll kill me if I tell you to. Finally I got her to tell me. I burst into tears. Oh, I thought she’s got one foot in the grave.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 07:38
How old? Was she when you heard this?
Carol Burnett 07:40
Carol Burnett 07:46
Oh, no, you’re gonna die. Oh, my God. That funny perspective.
Carol Burnett 07:54
Sunset Boulevard, right? The movie? Yes. Of course. With Gloria Swanson. Yes. The whole premise was she was over the hill at 50.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 08:03
Oh, come on. Do you remember that? No, I don’t remember. But I don’t know. I remember the movie.
Carol Burnett 08:11
She was too old to be in the movies again, because she was 50. But I was reading in the New York Times editorial section today. Yes, that a lot of people were turning 90 and 95. And they’re having parties. And one of the people was quoted as saying 90 is a new 60.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 08:31
Oh, god bless it. So that idea, I love that I get down.
Carol Burnett 08:35
H’es gonna be 101. Mel is 95 or so. Yeah. I mean, nice. It. Maybe there was something in the water. I don’t know.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 08:50
There’s something about being in show business. Well, and maybe there’s something actually when to ask you this question. Do you think there’s anything about making people laugh and laughing yourself? I wanted to ask you this. Can you describe what it feels like to you to get a laugh, Carol? What is that feeling?
Carol Burnett 09:14
Well, I’ve never been high. But I think that’s what it’s like to just be floating.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 09:25
Yeah, it is a floaty thing.
Carol Burnett 09:28
I was a late very late bloomer. I was a kind of a nerd in high school. I was very serious with my schoolwork. I was editor of The Hollywood High school newspaper. So I was going to be a journalist. Right? And all of that and it wasn’t till I got to UCLA and happened to take a course in acting. Just for the heck of it. And I picked a scene for the class to do that would be kind of light because the other kids in the class were doing these heavy dramatic thing. And I felt well, I don’t know. I don’t want to do that. Yeah. So I came out and I don’t remember what it was. But I had a line or two. Yeah. And they laughed where they should.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 10:12
And did you mean for it to be funny?
Carol Burnett 10:14
Yeah, because I wanted it to be like, but it was really a big guffaw. Really a huge laugh. And I thought I liked this feeling. Yeah. Right. All of a sudden, I decided I didn’t want to be a journalist anymore. I wanted to make people laugh.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 10:33
It just took one one good.
Carol Burnett 10:35
Good joke, a joke and a jolt.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 10:40
You know, I’m jumping all over the place. But it seems to me I made a list somewhere in this I have paper. I’m surrounded by papers because I had the great pleasure of studying up and Carol Burnett, which is hardly an assignment, and many kindnesses have been bestowed upon you or let us say, you have been open to receive them. And I’m very struck by that looking at your life starting from your nanny whom i i can tell I would have loved her. But I think about your nanny and going to see all these wonderful movies that you saw. Right. Do you mind telling the story about Joel McCrea because my mother loved like Cray, the most handsome man.
Carol Burnett 11:27
He was a big movie star. You know, a lot of Westerns you did a lot of Western. Right. And I was editor of The Hollywood High school newspaper. Well done you and I thought of, wouldn’t it be a great idea? If I could interview famous people who went to Hollywood High, which is a great idea. He was one of them. Yeah. So I went to my journalism teacher, and I said, Do you think that’s a good idea, Mr. Thorpe, and he said, Well, if you’re lucky enough to do get a fight. So I was able to track his office. Yes. And find out his office number. And I called and I got somebody who represented him and said, You know, I’m editor Hollywood High School, and I they thought it was a cute idea. So yeah, okay, you can interview him. So I took the bus over to the studio, where he was, I was showing it to his office. He was sitting there with his feet up on his desk, and he had on cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat on. And I sat and interviewed Joe McCray. And it was so exciting. Then I went back to school, and I typed up the interview, and we ran it in the school paper. Yes. Then I got the idea. I should interview more people like that. So I had it all set up to interview Alana Turner, who was a huge movie star at the time, right. But then I would have to cut class to do it. Because that was the only time I could see her. Yeah. And they wouldn’t let me do it. Oh, I wish you’d cut class. I wish I could have but then years later get this. Yeah, she was a guest on my show now. So it was Betty Grable. No. So it was being Crosby people that nanny and I used to go and see on the move in the movies. You know, when did nanny pass? She died. And now she did not get to see my show. But she did see me on Broadway. Right. And don’t when I did the Garry Moore Show. Yes. Yeah. She saw that all of those. Yes. And it’s Solomon and those show.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 13:33
Oh, tell already. I’ve got to hear it.
Carol Burnett 13:36
I’m doing the Gary Moore show right now. And so I’m really doing well, you know, and I’m getting a lot of fan mail and stuff starting to happen starting to happen. So she’s in California. I’m in New York. She had a very mild, mild heart attack, and was in the hospital out here. So I’m talking to my cousin who lives in California she said, Well, you’re not gonna believe this. I said what? She said Well, yesterday I went to visit nanny in the hospital. And I the elevator doors open. And they’re all these people lined up in various costumes and stuff. Like extras and Hollywood movies and stuff. Yeah, and they’re reading variety and they’re all lined up. Leading up to nannies hospital room door.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 14:30
Carol Burnett 14:32
What is going on and she opens the hospital room door. Nanny is propped up, sitting in a bed with with her. arms crossed, you know like that. And there’s a little girl in a two two, dancing with a baton and her father is in the corner with a harmonica tied up in his little girl is performing an ends in a split and nanny says Very good. Thank you. I’ll tell Carol about you send in the next one. No. Oh my she had, because we lived in Hollywood, and she knew all of these various people. And the word got out that she was auditioning people. And my cousin said, Nanny, what are you? What are you? She said, Well, I got bored.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 15:20
Did she ever find anybody good that you met?
Carol Burnett 15:23
She was it was she just wanted to be entertained? Yes, of course. She was a con artist. Oh, no.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 15:29
I just think that’s so funny. so charming. Lucky you’d like to have her did you? I’m sure she did. Did you always know you’d make it? Carol? Did she think you would? And Did you always know it? Did you feel it in your bones?
Carol Burnett 15:43
By making it, I felt that I could. If I went to New York, all I wanted was to be able to put food on the table. Yeah, clothes on my back and, and pay the rent? Yes, I did not think about being a headliner at all. I that wasn’t good. It was just I wanted to perform and do whatever I could. Right. So making it would have been to be able to sustain myself.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 16:12
But then when things started to click, yeah. Did you have a feeling of? What’s the word I’m looking at? Well, ambition.
Carol Burnett 16:22
I had ambition I wanted.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 16:26
I asked that question. Because I’ve asked a couple of other women that I’ve spoken to on this podcast about that word ambition, because we have to have the fire in the belly. You do have to have fire in the belly. But sometimes when they say, Oh, that woman is ambitious.
Carol Burnett 16:41
Oh, well, that could sound terrible. Right. It’s not fair. But I remember. And I have told this story before because sometimes I get mail or people ask, how do you accept a rejection? Right? You know, could you get depressed or what you know, like, because you’re going to, you’re going to be rejected, even the best of us even the best. And I remember this one time. I can’t remember what I was auditioning for. But it was it wasn’t a big deal. But it narrowed down to me and another girl. Yeah. And I thought I had it. I thought I had it. But I didn’t. She had it. But what saved me was, and I don’t know where this came from, but I’m grateful. I thought, well, you know what? It’s her turn. Right? It’s not my turn yet.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 17:39
And did you immediately leap to that? Did you have any feeling of sadness?
Carol Burnett 17:45
No, I was I felt Thank you. God. I was I thought, well, that’s okay. Yeah, I’ll get my turn someday. If I try hard enough, again, have the fire in the belly. Yeah, not let this discourage me. That’s right. So it’s her turn, and eventual. And that’s what I tell kids that are starting out. You know, if you really want it and you really work at it. It’ll happen.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 18:12
You know, I was thinking about that too, because of your time at the rehearsal club. Yeah. And that was where you live when you first went to New York, which was a sort of a boarding house for young women who are trying to make it in showbiz. Right, right. Yeah. By the way, that in and of itself is an incredible Hollywood’s or showbusiness story, just the fact of that.
Carol Burnett 18:36
I’m thinking of doing a treatment on it. I think it should be a series.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 18:41
I think it should be two and it should be set in that period.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 18:45
Yeah, I love that idea. Okay, well, if you need the boardinghouse Mother, you’re looking at her anyway. The but I love this story that you’re that you told about. I’ll let you tell it but when you went you’re trying to find an agent. And was it Eddie Foy that you were setting? So tell what happened. You’re living in New York?
Carol Burnett 18:45
In the 50s.
Carol Burnett 19:11
Living in New York. And Eddie Foy Jr. was a comedian. Yeah. And he was a starring in The Pajama Game, which was a major Broadway hit.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 19:24
What years this by the way.
Carol Burnett 19:25
1954. Okay. Around there. Yeah, I just gotten to New York. And I was sitting on my cot at the rehearsal club, right. I had a cot and a dresser and four other roommates in one room. And they were all out on a Saturday night it was raining. And I remember that when we lived in Hollywood. There was an actor named Jack Shea. And at one point I remember him when I was still living there. Talking about how he didn’t movie and Eddie Ford Jr. was one of the stars And he said he was really nice. He was the nicest one I’ve seen in a long time. Yeah. So I put on I raincoat, plastic raincoat, and galoshes trudged down to the St. James Theatre. It was about close to 11 o’clock at night. Yeah. Pouring rain. I looked like an Baxter and All About Eve. And I opened the stage door and pops, says that typical looks like the state’s manager, you know, the old guy. Of course, Hey, kid, what are you doing? He’s, he’s like, get on here out of the rain. What are you doing here? I said, I’m here to see Eddie. And he said, you know, Eddie, and I said, I’m from California. Anyway, yeah. Alive. But now I hear this clap of thunder. I thought it was. And it was the Audience applauding. It was the end of the show. So everybody was taking their bows. I mean, it was so exciting. And I see John rate run by and Janice Paige who they were the start. And Carol Haney who was also start. And then here’s Eddie Ford, Jr. and pop says, Hey, Eddie, this kid wants to see you. Yeah. He says, Oh, okay. Yeah, kid. What is it? Well, I can’t believe the nerve I had. I said, Mr. Boy, I know Jack che, you know, he worked with you in a movie said you were real nice. And I want to be in showbiz. And I just can’t get an agent because they say I have to be in something to get started. And, and I’m on and on. And we’re like this is Wait a minute, wait a minute. He said, Do you sing? I said, I’m loud. They said, Do you dance? I said Not really. I can jitterbug? He said, Well, maybe I can get you an audition for the chorus. I said, Well, I can’t read music. He’s okay. You can’t dance. You can’t read music yet. What I said, I’m not good enough for the chorus. I think I’d have to have a featured role.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 22:07
Oh my God, that’s not fire in your belly. That’s balls.
Carol Burnett 22:10
Yeah, but the thing is, he wasn’t a trained dancer. He wasn’t a trained singer. He couldn’t read music. But he was a star. And he said, Okay, what’s your phone number? He said, Well, I’ll see what I can do. He called me the next day at the club.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 22:29
Talk about kindness.
Carol Burnett 22:30
And he said, This is my agents name. I told him you gonna you were gonna come see him. Right. And I took my UCLA scrapbook full of nice reviews smart. And he looks reasonable. Well, let me know when you’re in something. I said, What? How? And he said he won’t go put on your own show.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 22:51
And so then tell it. Okay.
Carol Burnett 22:54
So I went back to the rehearsal club. And I called a meeting for all the girls. I said, we’re gonna put on a show. Yeah, we did. I wrote my own material. Everybody wrote their own material. We sent out Penny postcards to every agent and producer in town, saying you’re always saying let us know when you’re it’s up. Well, we’re in something. And they came the producers and directors came to the show. And three of us got agents out of it. You made your own breaks.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 23:25
Yeah, you make your own breaks. You pushed forward, you push through. That’s the most stunning story and it’s a great television show or movie whatever you want to make. It really is Yeah. More with Carol Burnett after the break. Hey there listeners. Just a quick note, before we get back to the show. I want to tell you real quick about my new movie called you hurt my feelings. It’s a little comedy about the little white lies we tell to the people we love the most. I play a writer who discovers that her longtime adoring husband who said he loved her latest book actually hates her latest book. Can you imagine that? mindfuck it was so superb to work again with Nicole holofcener, who is the writer and director. The entire cast is truly unbelievable. I’m so proud of the damn thing. You hurt my feelings. It’s out now in theaters everywhere. I hope you go check it out. So you had many mentors in your career? Yes. Lucille Ball, right. Gary Moore. Who else? Who else am I? That’s those are the two main ones right? Yeah. And if you don’t mind, tell me what Gary Moore What were the big takeaways? What were the if there were, in fact pieces of advice they gave you or they modeled for you?
Carol Burnett 25:08
He was one of the kindest people and most generous people. And he was a big star. Yeah. I remember when I was hired as the second banana on his show. Yeah. And Durward. Kirby was the second banana also. And there would be times when we’d be reading the script on a Monday, and we were going to tape on a Friday. Yeah, he might have a joke or punch line. And he’d look at it. And he’d say, You know what? Give this to Carol, or give this to your word, they can say it funnier than I can. That’s who he was. Right? It was the Gary Moore Show. But he wanted everybody to shine. And I learned that. And that’s why my show, I never really called it my show, I called our show. I wanted Harvey to shine and one, or Vicki, or Tim or Lyle, and then I would shine and we totally, it was the rep company that’s totally supported each other. Since Cesar was that way with Carl Reiner. And imaging and then later Nannette have Ray, you know, that you spread it around because it only makes the show better. And I learned that from Gary.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 26:20
And you know, that camaraderie, which is really you’re talking about generosity and camaraderie was really evident, as you know, to lowly me, audience member watching you as a young girl. And as a teenager watching your show. It was so evident to me that it was fun. Right, and that you all are having such a good time.
Carol Burnett 26:49
Isn’t that why we get into it in the first place? Thank you. That’s exactly right. And then later, they get cynical, then sometimes people get cynical. And instead of show businesses show business. Yeah. Totally. We want to get in the sandbox and play.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 27:04
Yeah, it’s all play, isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah. And don’t take yourself too seriously. Please don’t write tell about Harvey Korman. And that moment when you had to let them have it, do you mind telling that story?
Carol Burnett 27:17
Oh, Harvey at times, could be a little grouchy. But then we could tease him out of it. And he’d be he was always wonderful, right? You know, when he was performing them. Nobody could touch him. Nobody could touch him. So brilliant. Yes. And so this one morning, we were pre taping something. And Petula Clark was on as a guest and everything. And Harvey was in his costume. And I he can he was a little short with her. I don’t think he meant to and I don’t remember what it was. But he said something that was not not kind. And I could take it if he wanted to be a little curmudgeon with me or something. And Tim could take and we’d get him out of it. And he’d be fine. But I thought you don’t do this to a guest. No. No. So I went up to I said, Harvey, what’s wrong? He said, I’m just not happy here. I’m sorry. I said, stay after the show tonight. I want to talk to you. So I was a wreck. During the show. He was brilliant. As usual. Fun was Petula. I mean, it was all just.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 28:28
Why you are wreck in anticipation of this conversation.
Carol Burnett 28:33
Because I hate confrontation. Okay, hate it. All at one point. He said, I’m just not sure I’m happy on this show. That’s what he said. And so in the meantime, I called his agent. And I say, I’m gonna be talking to her, me, but he wants off the show. I’m gonna let him off the show. And he said, Well, you can’t do these guys. And he can’t do this to a guest. You know? Yes. But he said, Well, I said, I’ll talk to you later. So Harvey stayed. Now I’m nervous. Now I put on my best Rosalind Russell. Barbara Stanwyck. I got it. I said, I understand. You’re not happy. So don’t come back. You’re off the show. And he said, What are you talking? I said, No, you can’t be rude. I said, you’re off show. That’s okay. You know, I have a contract. I said, Well, you know, we’ll just talk about that with, you know, the powers that be but yeah, you can’t behave this way. Now, he says, well, like he started to kind of backpedal. And I said, okay, I’ll give you one more chance. You come in to work next week? Yes. And when I see you, I want you to be whistling and skipping down the hall. Nice. So, comes Monday. We always had a script reading in my office. Yeah. And I before that it was a time then I went to excuse myself to go to the ladies room. And then the elevator door open right. Just before I went into the ladies room, and Harvey comes out. We will stand there looking at each other for frozen second, he starts going whistling and skipping down the hall. So I had a plaque made. And I put it on his dressing door call. Mr. happy go lucky. Oh, that’s genius. And I loved him. I mean, we were we were always close. I’m making this No, no, no, I already rare, you know, rare circumstance.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 30:38
Yeah. But let’s talk about you as a boss. Yeah. Because you say you you avoid confrontation. Right. And I’m interested in that. And maybe it’s I don’t know, maybe it’s generational?
Carol Burnett 30:53
I think so. I was married to the producer. Yeah. He had produced a Garry Moore Show. Okay, you know, Joe. And so he really was the boss. I would come in and I would make suggestions and things like that. But this was the only time I ever took charge. That he didn’t know I was firing Harvey.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 31:17
Did you like for example, if there was material that needed punching up?
Carol Burnett 31:21
No, I know exactly where you’re going with how did this Scout manage since Caesar Jackie Gleason was that? Come on? Guys. This is crappy. You gotta fix it. Right? Yeah, I don’t like that. I couldn’t do that. You couldn’t what I would do? Would I would call the writers down. If we were doing a sketch and it wasn’t working. I would, I would say, you know, can you help me out here? A little bit. I’m not really feeling this too. Well, I’m not saying this. Like a like, in other words, helped me as opposed to telling.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 31:56
Yeah, so you didn’t scold?
Carol Burnett 31:57
No, I didn’t say come on. You gotta fix this. It sinks. No.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 32:01
No, but I would argue that that approach that you developed for yourself, was verse certainly a more kind approach but maybe even a better approach. Because it really you are demanding creativity without demanding it. You’re you’re you’re locking arms with these guys and saying, we’re on the same team. Can you help me out?
Carol Burnett 32:25
Oh, did I ever tell you story about Lucy?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 32:30
Lucky you. Lucky you. I’m shows. Oh, my God.
Carol Burnett 32:33
We she was on my show. Yes, this one week. And it was just before orchestra rehearsal. So there was a dinner break. So we went across the street to the farmers market was a little Chinese restaurant. And she’s knocking back a couple of whiskey sours. Sure. And she says, you know, kid, called me kid. She was 22 years older, so that I was kid. Yeah. She says, you know, it’s great. You got Joe, you know, to be looking out for looking out for a ship. When I was married to the Cuban he did everything does. He did it. He took care of the scripts. Yeah, he took care of the camerawork. He invented the three cameras. Put them on wheels, believe me. I know. Yeah. Yeah. And all of that does. He did it all. He liked supervisory costuming, this and that. So she said all I had to do on a Monday. Let’s come in and be crazy silly Lucy. Yeah. Now we got to divorce. Now I’m going to do the Lucille Ball show, right? She says, So I come in, read the script. And she said, it was awful. Right? She said, I didn’t know what to do. Desi wasn’t there to fix that shit. So I call for a break. She said, and I went to my office and I thought and I thought and I thought, I’ve got to be like, deci I’ve got to be strong. And she said, so. We went back, I sat down and in no uncertain terms. I told them, and I was I became Desi. I just told him what was wrong. That’s it. gotta fix it. She, she was confrontational. She took another little sip of her whiskey sour. She said, kid, that’s when they put the S on the end of my last name.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 34:17
But I think I mean, I guess it’s a kind of you took her advice, as it were. And you interpreted it for yourself? Yeah. And I think that’s a great lesson. I’m, I’m I’m so glad to hear that your thoughtful approach to making a better show. Yeah, you know, because it’s not always perfect that first no pass a script is often in need of a lot of work. Right? Exactly. By the way, you know where they shot was, it’s either Renmark or rally studios where they shot the I Love Lucy. One of those two, I can’t remember which one it is because they’re both our words. But anyway, that’s where we shot the first four episodes of Seinfeld, which I was always just Oh, wow. Yeah, exactly. It was really cool to be In the same the same space. Can you I know I’m asking a lot of questions about your career. But I do have one other question to ask you. And that’s about when you first did Carnegie Hall with Julie Andrews. How did that happen? How did that show come to pass?
Carol Burnett 35:17
Well, Julie, was a guest on the Garry Moore Show. And we had a finale written for us that we did. Yeah. And it was the first time I’ve ever seen a studio audience stand up and give us a standing ovation. Oh, my. And so the producer offered a special to CBS. Julian Carol. Yeah, Carnegie hill. They weren’t interested. They said because he see Carol every week on Geary show. And only Broadway knows Julie Andrews. She hadn’t done a movie yet. I see. So they didn’t think it would be any good. So okay, so I met an affiliates luncheon for CBS a few weeks later. And I’m I’m kind of brave, and I’m kidding around with some of the CBS vice presidents and I said, Well, I guess if you don’t want Julie and me, we could go over to NBC. They have color. I was terrible. And they kind of laugh, but they still weren’t interested. So the luncheon is over. We leave the building, and it’s pouring down rain. And they said we’ll wait and help you get a cab Carol and I said, Oh, don’t worry. I said somebody’s gonna pull up and give me a lift. I swear to God, Julia. Those words were out of my mouth. A beer truck pulled up, stop it, the guide leaned out and said, Hey, girl, you want to lift me up into the cab of the beer truck. The guy drove me home to Central Park South. I’m opening the door to my apartment. The phone is ringing. Pick it up. It’s the right one of the vice presidents. You got your show.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 37:04
Because why? Because the beer truck?
Carol Burnett 37:07
A strange man came came up gave me that they recognized Gary and for some reason that triggered them. Because you know what? Let’s give him the show. And of course, the show was a big hit.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 37:21
It’s a fantastic show. I was watching it and I was watching the intro number that you do we belong together. Yeah. Which I love that number. By the way, the dress that you’re wearing. And she’s wearing course I’m watching this in black and white, but I have never in my life seen such beautiful gowns. Gorgeous. But let me tell you what I was struck by. So the lyrics in we belong together. Yes. I’m so sad in town. Yeah, right. And you say you open you start the sketch to sort of before the song you say I don’t belong here, I belong here. And then off you go, and you’re seeing the song. And then you come to We Belong Together Together. Yep. And the word be long is a word that’s feech. I just, it’s stuck with me. Because then when you sang your last song for the final episode of The Carol Burnett Show, and you change the Lyric, and you saying, I’m so glad we had this time together.
Carol Burnett 38:30
We just get started at.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 38:31
That time you saying? Cuz you make me feel like I belong, right? And I thought, oh.
Carol Burnett 38:38
It’s funny that you would come up with that?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 38:42
But it was such a parenthesis. And it’s sort of as in I think you offered us an insight into your love of what you do. And then add to the feeling that I think we share in performance, which is a feeling of acceptance and be longing. Yeah. And you tapped into that. And aren’t we lucky?
Carol Burnett 39:07
Oh, right. Fortunate? Yes. And what’s great, too, yeah. Is an I see it in you. And I know it’s in me. We are aware of how fortunate we are. Yeah, it’s not something that we take for granted.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 39:22
Never know, because it could have been otherwise. Absolutely. And you had all three of your children during The Carol Burnett Show. Is that correct?
Carol Burnett 39:31
I hid the first two before we started.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 39:34
And then you had your last daughter during the run of the show.
Carol Burnett 39:37
Right. Well, we had I don’t know, too many shows that could that did what we did. We had a school schedule.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 39:47
Yeah. It’s because a mother was at the helm if you don’t mind my saying.
Carol Burnett 39:50
And we had it was well, actually it was the same way with the Gary Moore Show. Where we go to work at we knew what we were going to do. We go to work at start At 10 in the morning, right? I could take the kids to school. Brilliant. Good work. And on Mondays Tuesdays Wednesdays, I’d be out at 310 to three. But we knew everything we rehearsed. We all Thursday was blocking day. Yeah. And I’d be home every night in time for dinner. Except on Friday when we taped, right, and then we did two shows on Friday and the girls would come to see the dress rehearsal. We would have worked three weeks have a week off. We’d always have a week off at Easter, we’d have two weeks off at Christmas. We had the summer off, right. All that. So I didn’t work more than 20 some odd hours a week was almost like a part time job.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 40:45
Were you able to go home and leave work behind you? Yeah.
Carol Burnett 40:49
Yeah. And the thing too, we taped our show. We do. We usually do about an hour 15? Because we’d go over because I do the q&a. Yes. We’d be out in about two hours. So the audience it was like they were watching a Broadway show. Yeah. So we I never. I wanted to do it like a live show. Right? I never wanted to keep the studio audience waiting. Because there are They feed us? Yes, of course. You need their energy totally. And so I would make a bet with the stagehands that I could do a skin out change faster than they could move that couch across the room.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 41:31
I bet you one that because of theater. Yes. Yes. And then the show ended after 11 seasons. And you called that? Yeah. endings are hard.
Carol Burnett 41:42
They are. But I found that I wanted to leave before they started to flick the lights on and off.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 41:48
I hear that. Oh, no. I have the same experience both with Seinfeld with Veep. Yes. But But talk about how it actually I’m really interested to hear this. Because, you know, you’ve had people in your life, dear people in your life paths. And you’ve had shows and I’m not likening one with the other, but it is another kind of ending. Right. So how do you as somebody who’s weathered a lot of that, how do you manage endings?
Carol Burnett 42:17
What’s the alternative? Yeah, all right. Well, you know, so everything comes to an end. Yeah. You know, and, and another thing too, is, you know, if you’re down, there’s always an up. Then even when you’re up, there’s a down sort of expect that’s life. You know, and just be, as I say, I feel so grateful. Yes. You know, here I am 90 years old, I’m healthy. I’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Yes, but I’m still here. You are, you’re still here to quote the song.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 42:52
I know. But it’s it’s Stone Cold miracle.
Carol Burnett 42:55
It is. I feel that. And as I say I and I’m aware of it. I’m grateful. Right.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 43:01
I wanted to tell you ask or I wanted to thank you actually because I when your daughter Carrie was suffering from addiction. And you spoke so openly and honestly about that. And I had a sister who pass from Yeah, very tragic role. But I appreciate your honesty, because and your forthrightness about that issue. Because there can be shame associated with it. And addiction is a bear, as you know. So I just wanted to thank you.
Carol Burnett 43:35
Well, what was nice. I mean, we went through hell, no question about it. But she got sober when she was 17. And then she had a career. She now she had a very good career starting. At one point, she was in a movie called Tokyopop, which knows a little cult film. Yes. And Marlon Brando called her and wanted to have a meeting with her about something he was thinking about. Yes. She turned him down. Why became a stage mother. I said, Are you crazy? And she said, Well, I did the movie, but I want to do other things that she wanted. She had music she wanted to do. She was never interested in making a name for herself. She wanted to write. She eventually wanted to direct. She wanted to sing. She wanted to write music. She had a running role on fame. Yes. And all right. She was really on her way.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 44:32
And you had the glorious experience of working on the play with her.
Carol Burnett 44:39
Yeah, that was her idea. On my first book, yes. And she said, let’s just do it for fun mom. And she wrote she had a crack cabinet and Colorado. And I wrote in the mood facts scenes back and forth. Yeah. And then my friend, I showed a rough draft to my friend Beverly Sills. Yes. And she Read it. And she showed it to Hal Prince, the director, of course. And he said, I’d like to direct this.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 45:09
I mean, I’m with your daughter yet.
Carol Burnett 45:11
but she didn’t live to see. She passed away before we got to Chicago. You know, but oh, this is weird. I you know, is there something else happening around us that we don’t know and can’t see and can’t understand? I think so. On the plane to Chicago. I said a little prayer to carry because we’ve raking it in and Chicago before we go to Broadway, as a carry, let me know. I had to finish the play. Oh, gosh, can’t because we was going to be tryouts. I said, let me know you’re with me. I need to know. You know that. So I got to the hotel, to my room. And on the coffee table was this huge array of birds of paradise. Carrie had a bird of paradise tattooed on her right shoulder. And there’s the flight. And it was from hell saying, looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at rehearsal love Hal. So I called his room. They’ll Press Yes. And I said, How did you know? He said, No. What I said that these are hurt. He said I didn’t. He said I just said send up something exotic. So birds of paradise came. Okay. Whoa, whoa. So the next night, my husband and I took hell out to dinner, and the maitre d came up with a big bottle of champagne. And on the label it said Louise Louise was my mother’s name and Karis middle name. And I thought what Whoa, this is and then Carrie and I always loved rain.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 46:54
Yeah, and rain features and all of your stories.
Carol Burnett 46:57
Mentioning night in Chicago, it rained. So I had three signs, beautiful signs that I felt okay, Carrie,
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 47:06
you’re here with me? That is just so powerful. That’s so touching. Wow. My conversation with Carol Burnett continues after this break. Carol, can you talk about your idea of beauty and how it’s changed or not? As you’ve gotten older? And your approach to yourself and how you feel physically as you’ve gotten older? What has that journey been like?
Carol Burnett 47:51
Oh, interesting. Because I always felt very homely as a kid. I had a beautiful cousin who looked like a baby. Sharon Stone? Uh huh. No. And I always felt very plain. And I was.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:07
I’m going to tell you something. You you weren’t. You weren’t Carol. You weren’t? I’m I know you say this about yourself. But anyway, carry on.
Carol Burnett 48:17
No, one time. I remember I was doing the Garry Moore Show. And you know that wonderful writer, Larry Gilbert. Sure. He was. So at one point. He was quoted as saying, Carol Burnett is almost very pretty. And I wrote back I said, that’s almost very nice of him.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:36
Good for you. That’s a great response. That’s not a very kind thing to.
Carol Burnett 48:40
But it was actually I thought it was almost very, pretty good. Not bad.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:45
How do you feel now?
Carol Burnett 48:47
I think I’m fine for my age.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:50
Are you kidding me?
Carol Burnett 48:51
I’m fine. I’m happy. You know, I don’t have a double chin.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 48:56
No, you don’t. And you’re physically very fit. Do you? Do you exercise? Or walk? Uh huh. Right. You walk. Oh, good. Because you were always I mean, the fact of.
Carol Burnett 49:05
I was always very physical. Yeah. Yeah. I love doing physical comedy.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:11
Of course. It’s so much fun. Yeah. What about the work before you do that? I mean, in other words, where did you exercise?
Carol Burnett 49:19
Point? I was hooked on yoga. Yeah, for about seven years. Yes, I did classes and stuff and debt. And then I had a little exercise class that I taught you at CBS during lunch hour.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:33
Carol Burnett 49:34
For a half hour. I should have done it like a Jane Fonda was later.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:40
Tell me I thought about it. You’re a precursor.
Carol Burnett 49:43
So I did that. Right. Yeah.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 49:45
And what about cognition? Because you’re obviously I mean, give me a break. You’re so completely and totally with it. I mean, if you told me you were 35 I buy it No, for real. So what do you attribute that to? Do you do anything?
Carol Burnett 49:59
So, well I for about over 30 years. Yes. 3540 years. I was going on the road and doing Q and A’s.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 50:11
That keeps you sharp. But I mean, do you do anything else to keep your I mean, your reader?
Carol Burnett 50:18
We do crossword puzzles every day?
Carol Burnett 50:21
And I Wordle.
Carol Burnett 50:23
I got it in two. It’s because I was lucky with my first word. It was your first word. First word was crate. And it was carrot was carrot today. That’s right. So I had a lot of letters that I could play with.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 50:41
Now. Not to get too deep into the weeds on Wordle. But I also play it every day. I love that so much I
Carol Burnett 50:48
do to play with Allison Jamie. Oh, she’s a friend and Charlize Theron. You play with them? Not with them. We Wordle.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 51:00
Back and forth. Oh my god, I’d like to get in on that Wordle game. Okay, well, I’ll give I’m gonna give you myself. Okay. So do you always use crate as your opening word? That’s my question.
Carol Burnett 51:11
I used to do that a lot. And then sometimes I very like with audio. Uh huh. You know, with all the vowels? Yes. You get that? […]
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 51:21
I know I used to do for a long time now I’m into a rise. Oh, I don’t know it’s done me well, except today I got keratin five not two so.
Carol Burnett 51:32
Well, the other day I did a six. I mean, you know the snafu snafu was one of the nine who was hard hard. I didn’t have good letters for that one. Yeah. Right. So people know what we’re talking./
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 51:43
We can edit all this crap out. But I mean, back back to you, if I if I may. So as it happens, I’ve spoken to many different women during this podcast here who have had three marriages. You’re one of those people as well. But you’re in the fine company of Isabel Allende, Jane Fonda. Darlene Love. Oh, so what’s the trick? What is it about the third marriage? How did this?
Carol Burnett 52:11
We got to get it right then? Also being old enough to you know, you’ve been around the block a few times. I know what you want. You know, what makes you happy? Yes. You know, yeah. So.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 52:25
So you did it.
Carol Burnett 52:25
I did it. Yeah, we’ve been 21 years now.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 52:28
Congratulations. That’s phenomenal. And how did you meet each other?
Carol Burnett 52:33
We work together. Oh, he’s a musician. Oh, and I was doing a show in Long Beach. And he was the music contractor for the orchestra. And that’s how we met.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 52:43
Yeah, that’s nice. Yeah. How do you keep the romance alive? Is that easy?
Carol Burnett 52:49
As long as you have a sense of humor.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 52:56
That applies to everything. But I totally hear you.
Carol Burnett 53:00
That answer that question.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 53:02
Done and done. Oh, God. I’m so I’m trying to think what else do I need to talk to you about? I mean, I, I just love you so much. I can barely think. But let me ask you a couple of sort of little brief questions, if I may. Is there something you go back and tell yourself when you were 21? No, nothing?
Carol Burnett 53:31
I say no, I I don’t think if I gave myself some advice. Yeah, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Oh, Carol. I have thought of that. But I think that might be it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 53:44
That’s a good answer, Carol. Yeah, that’s a great answer. You know?
Carol Burnett 53:49
You had to go through you had to go through it. Rejection, again. Kind of sorrows. happiness, sorrow happiness. So I don’t know what what would have happened. If I would go back and give myself some advice.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 54:06
I see you. Yeah, you wouldn’t be where you are. Yeah. So I think I know the answer to this question. But is there something you would go back and say yes to?
Carol Burnett 54:19
No, but I think there are a few things I’d say no to. Oh, really? Certain choices I made in career. Really? Yeah. Yeah, that in a way. I look back and think I was foolish in trying to please everybody. Yes. Yeah, I was a people pleaser. I sang quite a bit. I didn’t want to ruffle feathers. Finally, it’s nice to know that no can be a complete sentence.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 54:51
Okay, so this has come up in another interview with Jane Fonda. Really? Yes, she said exactly the same thing. No kidding.
Carol Burnett 55:01
Can you believe it? It comes with age.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 55:03
It comes with age and it’s such a good answer.
Carol Burnett 55:10
And it’s not gonna ruin anybody. It’s okay.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 55:14
Right. Let me ask you this. Is there something you want me to know about ageing? I’m 62.
Carol Burnett 55:20
What do you don’t look at? That’s what you should know about aging.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 55:24
I wasn’t fishing for a compliment. I really, really mean that. Is there something you would like me to know? As I’m, you know, Jane Fonda talks about her life and three acts, the first, the second and the third, right? She’s a five. Yeah. And so. And when she entered her third act, she decided to do a life review and really think about what her the intention of her third act would be. But here’s the remarkable thing. Here you our wonderful, beloved Carol Burnett, and you are entering your fourth act. And so I wonder if you could I wonder what your intention is, as you enter this next decade? If you have one. If you don’t, that’s fine.
Carol Burnett 56:16
My intention is to keep on trucking, you know, and staying as healthy as I can. Yes. I’m not anxious to that. I have to keep working to prove anything. That’s I’ve done that right. And, but if something comes along, yes, it interests me. I’ll do it. Yeah, but I am not worried about what if nothing comes along, then I’m fine. I’m okay with it. Yeah, I did a few things recently. You know, Better Call Saul.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 56:52
Amazing, amazing performance.
Carol Burnett 56:54
They were wonderful to work with, please. I just finished palm Royale with Kristen Wiig and Alison and Laura Durer. Yes. And that’s coming out in the fall, I think we don’t know yet. Exactly yet. And I didn’t expect to do anything after Better Call Saul. But then this came along. And it’s not only a good script, but to work with those women was a bit crazy to turn it down. So I had a wonderful time doing that. But if that’s it, that’s it. I’ll be fine. I’ll do my crosswords in my Wordle. Yeah. Breathe. And I have my husband and my cat.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 57:31
You have your husband who’s younger than you? Well, yeah. What’s that, like? Lovely? I don’t have to take care of them. It could take care of me. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah, that is good. Yeah, that’s really nice. And well, I don’t know what to say. EThank you.
Carol Burnett 57:52
Thank you, honey. You are so sweet. But I have to tell you, I think you are one of the greatest comedic actresses of our time. How can you just so honest and funny, and truthful, it all comes out of truth. Thank you, you know, let’s you’re not trying too hard. You’re not it. You just are.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 58:18
Thank you. That means you totally everything coming from you. And I really, honestly, your what you have done with your life has informed my life more than I could articulate in this conversation. So thank you, Carol. Love you. Love you too. Thank you for being here. Complete. So for our listeners on why he’s the main normally after we have these remarkable conversations, I call my mom and I tell her about the conversations. But we thought for this final episode, we’d have my mom listening in, like a fly on the wall to the conversation with Carol. So I don’t have to recap. We can just download how stunned we are by the magical quality of Carol Burnett. Is that how you feel mom?
Judith Bowles 59:19
Oh. Uh, both of you. I have to say that ending?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 59:27
I know. I couldn’t believe it.
Judith Bowles 59:29
No. You know, parents think their children are the right. Yeah. And they know that their children are the best, the best of the best. But when somebody else agrees, it’s just like a magical moment. It was so wonderful. So many things. She said. I just wanted to say, of course. There is so much of truth in this that she said. So truth and performance and truth in life. That just got around the table, it’s overwhelming. I have to say, I am really overwhelmed with this. It was almost like given too big a dose of a truth drug. Something. I never had a truth drug. But you know what I mean? It’s just like, all of a sudden everything seemed to roll away. And it was just like, you were just talking to your soul or something. It was so perfect.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:00:24
She’s a dear person. I mean, she she, in terms of her energy mom and her mentation, her physicality. I mean, she’s like you, frankly. I mean, she’s completely with it.
Judith Bowles 1:00:36
Well, I was thinking when all the times she was saying her wonderful stories and telling her wonderful tales, and being how wonderful she is. And our singing myself. I mean, when people used to be 90, they were in wheelchairs, they were wheeled around the real amount parties, and then Hiccup and then take them back in. That was what they did with old people. And it only one hour just out. I mean, it’s us talking, I was remembering The Carol Burnett Show. And I the cat that she was so right about the whole cast meant that they were also we loved them so much. And what I remember, when she would do something funny, she would sort of look bewildered, a little bit. And like that, you should look around to people. So everything was always had this sense of being with the connection was always there. And that connection was something I could feel between you two in this also. And it was there. I think the ability to connect is a huge thing I think maybe particularly in comedy but in in life. It’s critical. You not think I do in em Forster’s novel, Howards End, the last words in the novel are only connect. I just think that people that can do that and really care about each other. It’s a kind of prayer. It’s bigger than you are. It’s you know, that you are just part of the part of the story. And I, I’m just, I was so touched by this, too. I can’t tell you. Yeah, at the beginning, when you were just so touched to be with you’re just sitting there. And literally, he’s Yes, but I was it was, it was appropriate. I mean, appropriate to be with somebody of that stature. And this had that duration, and has that kind of skill and gift and talent, and durability. And to be sitting with her and her sitting there with you and all of your achievements. And at your age. It’s well, it was a it was a it was a real duo. It was real duo.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:02:56
I love that. What a god. I mean, shit, I need a drink. I’m exhausted. Or bedtime. I need bedtime.
Judith Bowles 1:03:05
Well, you you’ve learned never to drink at bedtime, whatever it is that that you’ve earned. Honey, I really, I was. I am so happy to witness this truly, for a mother to witness her daughter in a situation like this with somebody like Carol Burnett, who is well, who is praising her who understands your own daughter. And the unity that happened? It Well, it’s something I will always always remember. And it’s a it’s such a tribute to both of you. And I have to say and in my own way, I felt that it was I mean, I feel connected to the tribute also. I mean, I feel connected in giving you a tribute, but feeling the tribute that those of us that have loved our children have received. Thank you. I want to tell you this was a treasure. I loved it. I loved it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:04:02
Yeah, I love the two Okay, mommy, love you tons. love you, love you.
Judith Bowles 1:04:07
Love you tons. And so, so happy to know I’m going to go out of here that we’re in now. Everything’s gonna come up here. Oh, here we go.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1:04:16
Bye. Okay, bye bye. Goodbye. Hey, love you mommy. love you Love you. Love you. Bye bye.
There’s more WISER THAN ME with Lemonada Premium, subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. WISER THAN ME is a production of Lemonada Media created and hosted by me Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease , Alex McOwen and Hoja Lopez. Brad Hall as a consulting producer. Our senior editor is Tracy Clayton. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paula Kaplan and me. The show is mixed by Kat Yore and Johnny Vince Evans and music by Henry Hall. Special thanks to Charlotte Chrisman Cohen, Ivan Kuraev, and Kegan Zema. And, of course, my mother Judith Bowles. Follow wiser than me wherever you get your podcasts and hey, if there’s an old lady in your life, listen up.