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on April 6, 2010
About a week ago, I read an article in the New York Times about a new book coming out this week penned by the incomparable Carol Burnett. Needless to say, being quite intrigued (having read One More Time at least twice), I decided to take the plunge on this one blind (which I do not recommend you do unless you're a fan like me). Am I ever glad I did!

Carol Burnett is 100% class. Most people, when given the opportunity to write an anecdotal book like this, would have a mean word to say about someone. However, in this case, Carol Burnett does not seem to have a mean word to say about anyone in this book. We can all learn from her example.

Carol Burnett has the kind of class that eclipses 99.9% of Hollywood these days. In the era of 24-hour news, TMZ, and negativity of all sorts, Carol Burnett is the breath of fresh air that we desperately needed, at a time that we needed it the most.

Some of the stories in here are very sad, especially the times that Carol talks about the events leading up to the premiere of Hollywood Arms a few years back.

However, most of the stories (a lot of which I've never heard or seen before) have the signature razor-sharp wit that Carol and company were (and are) well-known for. Two particular items of note are the stories she shares about Lucille Ball (which were laugh-out-loud funny) and the story about how she snagged Harvey Korman to be on The Carol Burnett Show.

In summary, if you want negativity, meanness, and other such things that are oh so common these days, this book isn't going to satisfy that in the least. However, if you want something that is all too rare these days, such as class, sweetness, humor when it's necessary, and something 100% genuine, then this book is for you.
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If they ever do a poll on 'Best Loved Entertainer,' odds are Carol Burnett would top the list or be in the top five. Ditto for 'Funniest Comedienne.' For decades, this intelligent, witty and endlessly appealing funny lady has brought laughter and joy to people around the world. In her equally appealing book THIS TIME TOGETHER, Burnett shares some of the most meaningful - and usually hilarious - moments in her long career. I haven't enjoyed a book this much in years!

For many of us baby boomers, our first exposure to Burnett's talent was on the 'Garry Moore Show' or 'Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall.' She certainly made us laugh with that limber body and rubbery face not to mention a fine singing voice. Yet what impressed most was her sweetness and naturalness. What you saw was what you got: a talented singer-comedienne who didn't take herself seriously. That impression was only reinforced when she hosted her own show, which I think was the finest, funniest variety show ever.

Those same qualities are everywhere evident in THIS TIME TOGETHER. In short chapters she takes the reader through her life and the many people she met along the way. She recalls friends and colleagues with obvious delight and affection. She gives unstinting credit to so many people who helped her personally or professionally over the years. And there's scarcely an unkind word or trace of self-pity in sight. THIS TIME TOGETHER has to be one of the 'nicest' show biz books written. It's just a pleasure to read.

Some of the most revealing stories are the ones Burnett tells on herself. For instance, the first time Burnett met Cary Grant, she was so petrified, so in awe of him that she tried to bolt from the party. As a young girl she had stared up at Grant on movie screens. Even though she was a bonafide TV star, she felt so inadequate she tried to run. Turns out he was a big fan of hers! Some time later, on a flight to New York, she was dismayed when the movie being shown turned out to be 'The Front Page,' one of Burnett's lesser acting performances. When the movie was done, she asked the stewardess for the P.A. microphone and apologized to the other passengers for her bad acting!

THIS TIME TOGETHER will certainly please all Carol Burnett fans. The book just confirms what many of us thought all along - she's funny, bright, down-to-earth, honest and a sweetheart. If you want to share some memorable moments with a real class act, pick up a copy. You won't regret it!
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on April 17, 2010
I'm going to disagree with the previous reviewers. I loved Burnett's first memoir, but this one is just OK. If you liked and remember the Carol Burnett Show and other TV performances of the author, you will likely find this book mildly entertaining. It recalls anecdotes and gentle stories of Burnett's professional and public life, but includes virtually nothing of her personal or inner life.

In a way it shows us how times have changed in the past decade or two. Where superficial stories were once all that was asked of a celebrity autobiography, now we want everything, the viscera. I have wondered in the past how she found motherhood, with her unconventional upbringing, or why she lived in Hawaii for so many years. For example, she mentions a two weeks Christmas trip to Honolulu -- I wanted to know why, not the usual destination unless special friends or family live there. She must have an interesting approach to comedy as well as drama in her professional life. But we hear nothing of any of that. This is a charming, warm recounting of the types of stories one might tell a new friend over a long weekend in casual conversation. That's fine, but -- and this is a big but -- if the author wanted to include us in her life, we would have gotten more. So, this volume is for fans only.
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VINE VOICEon April 8, 2010
In THIS TIME TOGETHER, funny lady Carol Burnett gives readers a delicious flavor of her various escapades and adventures. Starting with her debut on television (which happened simultaneously with her appearing on Broadway) and covering her life over the next few decades, Ms. Burnett takes the readers on a wild, but enjoyable, ride.
Told in small vignettes, she uses her chapters to give an oversight into various factors and people who she worked with over the years. Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, Beverly Sills, Rock Hudson, Julie Andrews and, of course, the ensemble cast from her historic Carol Burnett Show are all here. Instead of giving us a long-winded account, Ms. Burnett chose to give short stories covering one or two memorable events that, although brief and quite bare-bones, manage to convey to the reader the nature of her subject.
Some tales are funny but, when she covers the loss of her daughter, Carol Burnett opens up and you see the heartbreak while admiring the woman's courage.
THIS TIME TOGETHER is short and the only negative comment one can make is that you often wish she would confide in us even more of her funny and touching tales about the people who were lucky enough to work with her over the years.
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on July 13, 2015
Carol Burnett tells the story of her life through short, funny stories. These stories are very funny in the way you would expect from Burnett. They weave through her life from her childhood to semi-retirement. When you read the stories from her childhood you get see how she came up with the ideas for many of her sketches that were on her variety show. She and a friend would often act out the movies they had just seen and put their own spin to them. She tells these stories in a very fun loving way and is usually self depracating in most of them. Very fun read that should be enjoyed by anyone who enjoyed her show and performances. If you are looking for any spilling of secrets of deep dark hatreds for people you won't find it here, I just don't think it was her nature to go into things that were negative. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed her TV entertainment in the 60's and 70's.
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on April 9, 2010
I'm so glad we had this time together.
I've known Carol Burnett (the performer) all my life . . . she's been making me laugh ever since I discovered she was the funniest girl since Lucy.
I've known Carol (the friend) ever since I profiled her for a Redbook cover feature more than two decades ago.
We may not see each other often, we may not send emails frequently, but she is never far from my thoughts.
Or my remote.
With one click, I can travel back and watch her in action on her self-titled long-running TV series, as a guest star on various shows and sitcoms, in a handful of good movies that too many forget she made.
I can relive the magic of Putting It Together or Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall or Moon Over Buffalo.
I can flip another switch and hear her voice fill the room . . . singing with her good pal Julie Andrews on the highly collectible Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall or holding a note on "Johnny One Note" (from Let Me Entertain You) that, all these years later, still defies the power of vocal cords. Even Dame Shirley couldn't hold it so long, so steady, so right.
Or I could pick up the phone and find Carol at the other end.
And that's exactly what I did the other day.
The phone rang late Saturday afternoon, and though Caller ID promised a "Private Caller," my gut told me to answer.
"Alan? It's Carol!"
Memories come flooding back.
I begin to cry.
We chat. We gab. We giggle. We revisit the past, bask in the present, look forward to the future.
I tell her she's the sexiest looking 73-year-old grandmother I have ever seen. (She has two grandkids by daughter Erin.) "Darling, I am turning 77 [on April 26]!" she corrects me.
As she speaks so candidly and honestly, as she talks about her husband, her children, her struggles, her success, I remember how much I have learned from Carol.
I have learned the power of forgiveness, the importance of truth, the reason for passion.
Throughout my career, I have been repeatedly asked who my "favorite" interview has been, which famous person is "the same off screen as on."
It's Carol. Always was. Always will be.
She's so warm . . . so inviting . . . so approachable . . . so real.
I ask her about her longevity as a performer. Why do audiences love her so?
"I have been very lucky," she says. "I have always been grateful. I never take anything for granted."
I toss out the one word her fans feel they are---"friends"---and she agrees. "Totally. My fans and I have this tremendous friendship. I could never remotely be perceived as a diva."
Carol has written a new book, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection (Harmony, $25), in which she serves up some delight recollections on her life and career, especially her Emmy-winning 11-year run on The Carol Burnett Show.
She calls the book "not the end, but the end of a chapter. It started out as a funny, anecdotal book about the famous and not-so-famous. But then I found as I got into it, there were some things I would never talk about in the Q&As, because they got a little more heavy. But I wanted to put those things down on paper, too."
Carol rummages through her personal life, offering insights about her daughters from her marriage to producer Joe Hamilton: Erin, Jody and Carrie who, died at age 38 of cancer in 2002.
I remind Carol about the afternoon I spent with Carrie. I share my memories of the fiesty young talent, her sincerity, her courage, her charisma, her integrity, her strength. I tell Carol that I told Carrie about two records her mom had recorded in the '60s that were long out-of-print; almost apologetically, Carrie asked me if I would make her copies. (I did.)
I miss Carrie, and tell Carol.
"So do I," she says softly. "You never get over it, but you cope, you have to. What's the alternative?"
Carol's new book has a warm chapter on her marriage to drummer Brian Miller, whom she wed in 2001 and who's more than 20 years her junior. I remind her that she once told me she`d never get married again, and if she did, he would have to live across the street. Yes, she remembers that, and yes, she laughs.
She and Brian, a professional musician, met several years ago while doing a stage show together in Long Beach, California. "We got along like a house on fire," she recalls. A few years later, they bumped into each other while shopping at a mall in Century City. "We had lunch and went to a movie," she recalls. They have been together ever since, some nine years now.
I ask Carol to name the one thing that makes Brian special. "I can't name one---I'll name several," she says. "He has the greatest sense of humor, he's very smart, very kind, very organized and knows more about old movies than I do. We're both sort of like Felix Unger---I joke that we arm wrestle over the Windex."
Pause. "He's my best friend."
Lucky lady. Lucky man.
We talk about the years as the star of her own show. "It was like a Broadway musical-comedy revue a week. There was nothing lurid about our show. It was 11 years of belly laughs. We had a 28-piece live orchestra, real live musicians. We had 12 dancers, two guest stars a week, all those sketches---sometimes five, six, seven---and big production numbers. And costumes by Bob Mackie, 50 a week from head-to-toe. You couldn't do that today."
Carol chimes in on scores of famous names, including Lucille Ball, Tim Conway, Julie Andrews, Cary Grant, Sonny and Cher, Marlon Brando, Joan Crawford and Julie Andrews. I tell Carol there is a Facebook surge underway to get she and Julie to reunite for what would be their third TV special. "I'd love to!" she says without any prodding.
One of the book's funniest stores is about Barbara Stanwyck, who she recalls meeting in their doctor's office. At the time, Carol was suing The National Enquirer; Stanwyck told Carol that she would win because "a leprechaun" told her.
I ask her if Stanwyck was a bit gaga.
"No. She was beautifully dressed, very Barbara Stanwyck, very Big Valley, very pulled together. She said, `You know, Carol, leprechauns do exist.' I thought, 'Whoa!'"
We laugh.
I ask her who makes her laugh today . . which of the "younger generation?"
Names that quickly pop out: "Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ellen DeGeneres, Tracey Ullman."
Carol is also a huge fan of Kristin Chenoweth (who she had seen the night before in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises) and nominates her as a possible host should (key word!) variety TV ever make a comeback: "She sings, she's cute and she's funny. She never makes a bad choice. She's always on the money."
Carol is tying the book with a mini-tour she's doing entitled (what else?) Laughter and Reflection With Carol Burnett: A Conversation with Carol where the Audience Asks the Questions.
Yes, she'll do the Tarzan yell because her life has good harmony.
And because she never takes herself too seriously.
Carol remembers attending a star-studded party last year after the Kennedy Center Awards. "Meryl Streep was there! Robert DeNiro! Sting!" The awe is evident in her voice, even all these miles away.
"Bruce Springsteen came up to me and said that he and his family used to watch the show. I thought the floor would open up. Me and The Boss in the same room!"

Where's Carol?
Come chat with Carol in
A Conversation with Carol where the Audience Asks the Questions
(Autographed copies of her new book will be on sale at each theater!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The State Theatre
Minneapolis, Minnesota
7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 16, 2010
The State Theatre
New Brunswick, New Jersey
3 p.m.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010:
Proctors Theatre
Schenectady, New York
8 p.m.

Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Hanover Theatre
Worcester, Massachusetts
7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Palace Theater
Waterbury, Connecticut
8 p.m.
This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection
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VINE VOICEon June 2, 2010
I love Carol Burnett. I read her first book, "One More Time"," loved it, and was looking forward to this book, eagerly placing an advanced order on Amazon. I'm sad to say the results of "This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection" are disappointing.

Ms. Burnett reiterates stories she's told on the air many times, in her reunion specials, interviews, and in the first book. I was encouraged by the section in which she describes her involvement with "The Garry Moore Show," which offered her her first national exposure. The workings of early TV variety shows are described, and she conveys the excitement of pursuing a show biz career in New York City in the early 1960's. It is interesting to learn how various career opportunities presented themselves.

Unfortunately, most of the rest of the book rehashes aspects of her life we know about and fails to go into enough detail, content to skim situations and events for surefire anecdotes. Another problem is that Ms. Burnett too often looks to put a comic punchline on her reminiscences when that isn't always appropriate. Those who buy the book are obviously fans and admirers who already know a great deal about her life and career. I wish the book was more revealing or at least presented admirers of Ms. Burnett with stories we haven't heard before.
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on April 11, 2014
I'm constantly quoting this book to people. I feel like I not only knew Carol Burnett through this but became her best friend. I've become a freakish fan after reading this and will soon go through a Carol Burnett extravaganza where I watch everything she's ever made!
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on October 2, 2012
I'm shocked and so dissappointed . . really Carol you don't need curse words to get your point across. My mom is heartbroken. Um . . . just kidding. There's no profanity. In fact there is absolutely no meanness. Imagine that after a lifetime of ups and downs. This book is so warmhearted, interesting and funny from a genuine nice person . . . she is kind about everyone and everything she talks about. And still real.

I remember watching Carol's show when I was a kid - and I really only remember one sketch . . . but that sketch made me laugh until my stomach hurt . . . it was the one where Carol was the "pigeon lady" - dressed all frumpy and eccentric - who while someone else was supposed to be the center of attention would feed pigeons and mumble "coo coo pigeons" Ok that was a terrible description but it doesn't matter because I laughed until my stomach hurt.

I took my time and stretched this book out to . . . oh 3 days. Tonight when I go to bed I will say a prayer for the wonderful Carol Burnett, who actually is a real person, and not just a TV personality.
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on January 28, 2016
Some nice light entertaining stories. Good for reading before bed. I really like Carol Burnett. She's so likeable. I wasn't really into her show, but I recognized she and her ensemble were fantastic at what they did. A couple of the stories in the book made me laugh, but mostly smile. Nothing sensational here. The stories are sweet, kind and amusing -- like Carol.
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