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Vicki Lawrence Reanimating Mama, Burnett

Vicky Lawrence Courtesy of Kevin Scott Hees

Vicki Lawrence and her classic character Mama are hitting the stage with “Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show.” In the first  half of the performance, Vicki Lawrence as herself describes meeting Carol Burnett and her years on the program, which ran from 1967 to 1969, her friendship with fellow comedian on the show Harvey Korman, her hit single in 1973, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, ” and her entertaining the troops in Vietnam.

For the second half of the show, Mama shows up and upstages Lawrence with her characteristic opinionated observations. Lawrence was star of the 1980s series “Mama’s Family” which revived the popular character after the Carol Burnett show had left the air.

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Concerning her friendship with Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence said, “He taught me everything. He is one who would sit down and work with me on dialects and help me with props and explain to me who I was in movie take-offs. Harvey was such a team player. Back in the beginning, he’d say, ‘Forget stage right and stage left, you couldn’t even find the lady’s room.’I think, being the team player he was, it was either kill me or train me, so he decided to train me, and it was like having your own private tutor and having a crash course in comedy.”

Lawrence also recalls entertaining the troops during the Vietnam War, and she still has veterans who approach her and thank her. Vicki Lawrence was born Victoria Anne Axelrad in Inglewood California. Her father Howard was a CPA for Max Factor, and the family’s last name was changed to Lawrence when Vicki was seven.



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