Interviews

 

Gail Parent

Writer

Gail Parent on being the only female writer on a variety show when she was hired on The Carol Burnett Show

03:31

Being hired for 'The Carol Burnett Show' was exciting because they were not hiring women to do variety shows in those days. They didn't want a woman in the writers' room because they thought that a woman would inhibit them. Then here was Carol, willing to give us the job.

About this interview

In her three-hour plus Archive interview, Gail Parent discusses becoming the only female writer for a variety show when she joined the staff of The Carol Burnett Show in 1967. She talks about her long stint on the show, working with Carol Burnett and writing for series regulars Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, and Vicki Lawrence. She describes writing for various comedy series and specials, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Tim Conway Show, and also speaks of penning her successful novel, "Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York." Parent recounts co-creating Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and writing for the classic comedy series The Golden Girls. She outlines working for Tracey Ullman on two shows, Tracey Takes On... and State of the Union, and talks of writing for Ullman's unique talents. Parent concludes with career highlights and regrets, and offers advice to aspiring writers. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on July 16, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Being hired for 'The Carol Burnett Show' was exciting because they were not hiring women to do variety shows in those days. They didn't want a woman in the writers' room because they thought that a woman would inhibit them. Then here was Carol, willing to give us the job.

Interview Highlights

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Gail Parent on being the only female writer on a variety show when she was hired on The Carol Burnett Show

03:31
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Gail Parent on coming up with ideas for sketches for The Carol Burnett Show and the notion of a "department"

05:06
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Gail Parent on co-creating Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

02:35
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Gail Parent on writing for Rue McClanahan as "Blanche Devereaux" on The Golden Girls

01:31
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Gail Parent on writing for Tracey Takes On...

02:57
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Gail Parent on co-creating Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

03:16