In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox

by Carol Burnett

Hardcover, 2016





Crown Archetype (2016), Edition: Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed, 320 pages


"Comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show. Who but Carol Burnett herself has the timing, talent, and wit to pull back the curtain on the Emmy-Award winning show that made television history for eleven glorious seasons? In Such Good Company delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and antics that made the show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. Carol lays it all out for us, from the show's original conception to its evolution into one of the most beloved primetime programs of its generation. Written with all the charm and humor fans expect from a masterful entertainer like Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company skillfully highlights the elements that made the show so successful in a competitive period when TV variety shows ruled the air waves. Putting the spotlight on everyone from her talented costars to her amazing guest stars--the most celebrated and popular entertainers of their day--Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode. Here are all the topics readers want to know more about, including: how the show almost didn't air due to the misgivings of certain CBS vice presidents; how she discovered and hired Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway; anecdotes about guest stars and her close freindships with many of them, including Lucille Ball, Roddy Mcdowell, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White; the people behind the scenes from Bob Mackie, her costume designer and partner in crime, to the wickedly funny cameraman who became a fixture during the show's opening Q&A; and Carol's takes on her favorite sketches and the unpredictable moments that took both the cast and viewers by surprise. This book is Carol's love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show which won no less than 25 Emmy Awards! Get the best seat in the house as she reminisces about the outrageous tales that made working on the show as much fun as watching it"--… (more)


½ (98 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member bemislibrary
For those who grew watching the Carol Burnett show, the recurring sketches, and characters hold fond memories. Burnett revisits episodes, guests, skits, and regulars with in in depth behind the scene and in front of the camera review. The detail provided allows frequent viewers to watch along in
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their mind as the lines come alive once more. For some, the detail may spoil the surprise and spontaneity that comes with viewing the shows for the first time. The book contains lists of shows and guests and writers by season. Carol ends her book with the following incident.
“Every so often I go around the country and do a Q&A evening. I’m thrilled that audiences’ ages can range from nine to ninety. Not too long ago, I was performing in a theater in my hometown, San Antonio, and a little boy in the second row raised his hand and I called on him.
ME: “Hi There! What’s your name?”
LITTLE BOY: “Andrew.”
ME: How old are you, Andrew?”
ANDREW: “Nine.”
ME: “And you know who I am?”
ANDREW: (Pause) “Surprisingly, yes.”

How lucky am I?”

I would say how lucky we are.
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LibraryThing member AMKee
I loved the fact that Carol did her own reading of this book in the audio book, which leads one to feel like Carol is having a conversation with you personally. The stories and antidotes from all the stars and guest stars from the 11 years of the show are awesome fun and like reliving the show that
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brought such joy to my childhood.
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LibraryThing member SamSattler
Most of us lucky enough to have watched the Carol Burnett Show as it aired every week only realized how truly wonderful the program was after its eleventh, and final season on CBS was over. Like all good things lasting that long, its contemporaries tended to take the show for granted. Oh sure, we
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couldn’t wait to see if Tim Conway was going to crack up Harvey Korman in any skit they played together, or which recurring character Carol was going to play that week, but most of us didn’t give a second thought as to how difficult it must have been to produce a show like that one week after week.

Carol Burnett’s In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox takes us back to those early days, beginning when CBS contracted with the then young Broadway star to give her a weekly series pretty much whenever she was ready to move to California. It took Carol and her producer husband Joe Hamilton a while to feel comfortable with a cross-country relocation, but they finally made the move – and the rest is television history.

Admittedly, television was a different beast in the seventies than it is today, and variety shows were fairly common then: The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Laugh-In, Flip Wilson, The Jim Nabors Hour, and The Dean Martin Show all come to mind, but there were others. But stiff as the competition was, the Carol Burnett Show may have been the best and most loved of them all.

The show was blessed from the start with a group of co-stars who, according to Burnett, enjoyed the rare kind of chemistry that made the show’s improvisational style of comedy look so easy. Burnett tells how each of her co-stars (Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway) were hired and how their roles developed and changed over the show’s eleven-year run, all the way from Korman’s mentoring of the very young Vicki Lawrence to Waggoner’s evolution from pretty-boy announcer to equal partner in the show’s skits.

Equal time is given to the show’s weekly guest stars, a list that reads like a Hollywood “Who’s Who.” Covered in detail are appearances by the likes of Lucille Ball, Jimmy Stewart, Sammy Davis Jr., Alan Alda, Jerry Lewis, Bernadette Peters, Steve and Edie, Betty White, Rita Hayworth, Betty Gable, Ronald Reagan, Shirley MacLaine, Donald O’Connor, Roddy McDowall, and Jim Nabors (and that’s the short list). Often included in Carol’s recap of the time she spent with her guest stars are the scripts of entire skits performed with them on that week’s show.

In Such Good Company captures all the fun of the show, but even avid fans are likely to be surprised by a thing or two they missed way back when (it’s been, after all, more than fifty years since the airing of the first show). What particularly surprised me were the short chapters titled “The Night I Fired Harvey” and “Harvey Leaves Our Show.” It seems that the often-grumpy Korman finally managed finally to cross the line, and Carol surprised him by calling his bluff. I can’t help but wish I could have seen the look on Harvey’s face when, completely out of character, Carol finally lowered the boom on him.

In Such Good Company also includes a detailed “Appendix 1” listing by season each show, the show’s guest stars, airdate, and other short notes. In addition, “Appendix 2” lists the writers employed for each season of shows (Burnett is always quick to give credit to the show’s writers).

Bottom Line: In Such Good Company is for the fans. It is certain t be a treat both for those who remember watching the shows the first time they aired and for new fans just now discovering the brilliance of The Carol Burnett Show via DVD or YouTube.
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LibraryThing member Iambookish
I was biased before I even started reading this book because I adore Carol Burnett. Reading this made me want to re-watch all the shows and relive a part of television history that is no longer a part of the fall line up, the Variety Show.

Ms. Burnett comes across through her writing just like I've
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always imagined her to be; kind, warm and lovely. If you're looking for a celebrity tell all you will be disappointed, but if you want to get a behind the scenes peek of what it was like during those 11 years you will be in heaven!
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LibraryThing member juliecracchiolo
From September 11, 1967, to March 29, 1978, comedienne Carol Burnett along with her regular cast of Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner (Tim Conway, although a frequent guest star, didn’t become a regular until Season 9 [1975]), beamed into homes across America, causing howls of
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Carol’s new book, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox, takes readers back to those days, when comedy---and the variety show format---reigned supreme. In order to write this memoir, Carol re-watched ass 276 episodes of the Carol Burnett Show.

She explains how the show came to be, how it was bounced around through three different time slots, how the character skits developed. She didn’t leave out anything. She discusses those who worked diligently and tirelessly behind the scenes, the reoccurring sketches, the movie parodies, the guest stars, the Q&As, and the list goes on.

This is an easy read and fun read. It can be read at any point. Say you couldn’t wait to read about Jim Nabors or how Mama’s Family came about. It’s easy to ski ahead and indulge yourself.

Reliving favorite memories with Carol about a favorite guest star, a hilarious sketch, or, my personal favorite, the Went With the Wind parody of the movie Gone With the Wind is like watching old home movies. You savor the moments, relish the laughter, smile at the disappointments, and generally just feel good when you flip the pages and take a turn down memory lane.

Carol, thanks for letting us relive the memories with you; it was a hoot! I give In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox 5 out of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member Narilka
In Such Good Company is a memoir by Carol Burnett about the eleven years her show was on the air. It is similar to her other book, This Time Together, in that it is told in a series of anecdotes. The book focuses heavily on recapping her favorite shows and stories about many of the guest stars so
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that it almost feels like a history of the Carol Burnett Show instead of an autobiography. It made me realize that having only caught the show in syndication a lot was edited out for reruns which is a shame.
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LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
I vaguely remember watching Carol Burnette's variety show as a youngster. I think I most remember Harvey Korman and Tim Conway though. It was interesting to hear her reminisces of the 11 years of the show.
LibraryThing member Auntie-Nanuuq
Did you know that Carol Burnett's show was originally one full hour? That she originally worked w/ Garry Moore? She once fired Harvey Korman? Vikki Lawrence was only 18 when Carol Burnett hired her on the basis of a fan letter?

This book is not a biography, rather the history of the 11 years the
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Carol Burnett Show. In it she talks about working with her regular cast; Harvey Korman, Vikki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, & Tim Conway as well as her numerous guests.

I'm adding this to "Strong Women" on PBT simply because Carol Burnett was raised by her grandmother (whom the ear tug was for) & took care of her daughters in between rehearsing... It was stated in one small part how she'd take her daughters to school, take a break to pick them up & take them home. Also at the time, there were no women in comedy who had their own shows, so for Carol Burnett to make it in the same realm as Sid Caesar, Garry Moore, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, & Jackie Gleason she would have to have been very strong.

There was only one guest star she didn't get along with who was rude, nasty & walked out before taping. I've researched & can not find out who this was; all that was said he was considered the "One & Only", he was short, & "on something".....

I found the included script outtakes boring, and after awhile the book became repetitive and anecdotal, which was why I rated it as low as I did.
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LibraryThing member 2wonderY
A nice visit with the author, but too much detail! I'd rather watch her on film.
LibraryThing member Carlathelibrarian
If you grew up in the 1970's like I did, you'll remember The Carol Burnett Show as one of the funniest and most popular TV shows of that era. What I didn't realize was that it was on the air for 11 years. In Such Good Company is Carol Burnett's recollection of the show. And not just the show, but
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things connected to the show such as how the regulars were hired and how they evolved, her guests and her relationships with them, the costumes, her cameramen and so on. The title fits the book as she speaks fondly of everyone, gives credit to everyone else and reminisces about the show. The only reason I did not give this book five stars is that I thought the play-by-play of some of the sketches in the book was a little tedious.

The writing felt like you were sitting down and talking to Carol. She shared so many anecdotes about the sketches that I loved that I found myself smiling and remembering my youth. I absolutely loved the Mama sketches and the Gone with the Wind sketch was one of my favourites. Many of the other descriptions has me remembering things that I had forgotten. I definitely need to check out clips on youtube. A great, relatively quick read that was thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for generously providing me with a copy of this book.
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LibraryThing member grandpahobo
This is pretty much a cronology of the show. I was expecting more insights into the behind the scenes stuff, the actors personalities and some of the stresses and issues that you wouldn't know about otherwise. Instead, a lot of the book is essentially the scripts for several of the most popular
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LibraryThing member Preston.Kringle
Carol Burnett created one of the longest running sketch comedy shows running for eleven seasons. In Good Company, she tells of the creation of The Carol Burnett show, various sketches, guest stars, and favorite memories. Full of moments that make the reader smile and laugh out loud, this book is
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hard to put down and will put a smile on anyones face.
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LibraryThing member murderbydeath
After listening to Carol Burnett's other memoir This Time Together, I was interested in checking this one out.

If this is the first of her books you listen to that cover the years during The Carol Burnett Show, you'll likely like this even more than I did. She narrates the audio herself and does a
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fantastic job, and the anecdotes she shares are funny or interesting and often both. It was a bonus that the excerpts from interviews with Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence and Harvey Korman were actual audio excepts from the interviews conducted by the Television Academy.

If you've listened to, or read, This Time Together, you'll find some stories (the best ones) overlap; there's enough fresh material in each book to make reading them worthwhile though.
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LibraryThing member knahs
What a delightful read. Not only did Burnett go over the behind the scenes working of her acclaimed variety show but provided insights to regular cast members (Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway) but guest stars as well. She also went through some of the movie spoofs they did. Loved it.
LibraryThing member zot79
This memoir is focused on Carol's TV show. There are some new stories and many I've heard before. Hearing our old friend Carol tell them again, with enthusiasm and warmth, makes it worth the listen.
LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
This is a chronicle of her time with her TV show, which I loved. I was aware of many of the stories, perhaps mentioned in her autobiography. I owned all of her show DVDs. Honestly, jf the whole series were available to stream, I'd watch them all.


Audie Award (Finalist — 2017)
Grammy Award (Winner — 2017)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 6.4 inches


1101904658 / 9781101904657
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