Carol Burnett shared a story about how Lucille Ball had to get ''tough'' after her divorce
Friendships are unions that can last a lifetime. For Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball, the iconic duo's bond inspired many generations of women comedians to enjoy the gift of laughter and speak up for themselves.
Both women are loved for many reasons, but Ball had a reputation for being ''tough,'' and she had a perfectly good reason, according to Burnett. In an interview with the Television Academy, The Carol Burnett Show star spoke about how The Lucy Show actress didn't censor herself.
"She never censored herself, from here to here," Burnett said as she pointed to her head and mouth to demonstrate that Ball said whatever came to her mind. "Whatever she said, she was thinking. And sometimes it came out like, whew. She'll say, 'What's that light up there for? What are you doing with the light?' (to the lighting guy). He'll say, 'Lucy, I'm doing the such and such.' She'll say, 'OK, let me see.'"
If the worker, for example, had the right lighting, Lucille would give him the 'OK' to proceed. Burnett said, "She wasn't trying to pick on anybody, that's just the way she was, and they would lay their lives down for her because when she said 'that's great,' she meant it. When she said 'that stinks,' she meant it, but it was never personal."
Burnett then told a story about when she and Ball went out for dinner. The I Love Lucy star told her friend that she was lucky to have her husband, Desi Arnaz, with her to handle things like talking to writers.
"[Ball] said Desi would deal with the writers; he would deal with the scripts." According to Burnett, Ball said, "all I had to do was come in on Monday and be Lucy. I didn't have to do anything but perform... Then we got divorced. That's when they put the 'S' on the end of my name."
Burnett continued, "she had to get tough. No one would listen to crazy little Lucy, so she had to be truthful, and it was unheard of for the women to do that."
Burnett revealed that she was scared to speak her mind on The Carol Burnett Show, saying, "If I didn't like something, I would say, 'you know, maybe it's me, but I'm just not very good in this sketch. It was my way of getting around, and I didn't want anybody to get mad at me."
The actress evolved and began sharing her opinions or her likes and dislikes. She said, "I realized that 'no' could be a complete sentence, and I don't have to explain myself too much as long as you say it nicely. Like, 'you know, this just doesn't work for me."
Watch I Love Lucy on Catchy Comedy
Weekdays at 12p ET | 9a PT