• July 19, 2024

Vicki Lawrence is Still the Mama We All Want

How did you find Miley Cyrus?

Miley ran that set. I mean, her dad was not in charge at all. When they first had me on that show, they said, “We want to bring good people around her to work with her because she’s like a little sponge. She’s really smart, so if you have any information, things that you would like to share with Miley, things that she should know, please feel free to spout your wisdom because we think she’ll learn it all.”

The first day we were rehearsing, Miley and I had a scene in the kitchen, and it was all about getting stuff out of the cupboards and putting stuff away and getting ready to prep a meal. And she was losing her lines. At one point, we stopped. I said, “Miley, make your props your friends.” One of the first, most important things that Harvey Korman [her costar on The Carol Burnett Show] ever taught me. And he said, “You’ll find that when you are dancing with those props, that will remind you of your lines, and it’ll be much easier to learn.” And to this day, I can’t just sit down and learn lines. Once we get it up on its feet and I know where I am, what I’m touching, what I’m doing, it’s so much easier.

Have you ever spoken with Tyler Perry about how he basically stole your act with his Madea films?

Well, I went to see his show, and afterwards, he said, “Did you love the way we broke character, and just like they did on The Carol Burnett Show?” And I was with my son Garrett, who said, “But it wasn’t like The Carol Burnett Show. It was deliberate.” And I said, “Yeah.” I think he has credited Mama on a number of occasions with inspiring Madea. When I talked to him, I said, “We really should do a road film, a Thelma & Louise.” He said, “We should.” But I’ve not ever heard anything back, but I think it would be super fun.

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