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NBC Insider Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love

Why Carol Burnett Joked Her First Meeting with Elvis Was "Awful"

Hard to compete with the biggest star on the planet.

By Elizabeth Logan

It's hard to compete with someone as famous as Elvis Presley. Or in Carol Burnett's case, Elvis himself. The comedy legend told the story of how she met the "Blue Suede Shoes" crooner, and let's just say it could have gone better.

Carol Burnett met Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show

Burnett appeared on the iconic Ed Sullivan Show a number of times throughout her career, including once during the six-year period when Elvis Presley, the hottest music star in America, was in the army. With Presley sightings fewer and farther between because of his service, audiences were especially eager to see the singer, who was also a guest that night.

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“Well, I was on when Elvis was on, when he was in the army. They did a whole big thing when he was in the army on the stage...And they put me on first,” Burnett recalled to Stephen Colbert. Viewers were way too anxious and excited to enjoy Burnett.

“Nobody wanted to see me. I mean, it was Elvis, ‘Where the hell is Elvis?’” Burnett recalled, admitting that she failed to charm the audience. “I bombed. It was awful," she said. 

Fortunately, it wasn't a complete failure of an evening. Burnett got to say hi to Presley and shared, “Yes, I met him; he was very sweet, and I got his autograph for my kid sister.” Lucky sis!

Carol Burnett Julie Andrews Friendship2

Carol Burnett loved chumming it up with Julie Andrews

Even if her Elvis Presley introduction wasn't a total success, Burnett did get along well with other celebrity peers, especially Julie Andrews. In a conversation on Kelly Ripa's podcast Let's Talk Off Camera, Burnett told the story of how the two ladies met. "First there was an agent and a manager that I knew, who knew Julie, and he also knew the executive producer of The Garry Moore Show. And they said, you know, you two girls have to meet," Burnett explained. "We went to a Chinese restaurant afterwards, and those poor men didn't stand a chance. Julie and I never stopped talking. We just, it was like we've known each other forever. And, so that's since 1961 we've known each other."

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As Andrews put it to People, "From day one, we both seem to know and understand where each one of us is coming from. Although we come from different countries, we recognized in each other things that were of mutual understanding. We both had tough beginnings and we both kind of bonded [for] that reason. It was instant the day we met. And from then on, it's been nothing but one hugely funny, joyous ride with a lot of understanding."

You can watch The Carol Burnett Show on Peacock.