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The Carol Burnett Show began on CBS in 1967 and lasted for 11 seasons until its final episode in 1978. The show, hosted by Carol Burnett, was the first variety show to be hosted by a woman, and was filled with skits, vaudeville-style performances, and musical guests. Men had long dominated television sketch comedy, and Burnett’s show was the first example of women rising in the genre. Modern sketch shows like Saturday Night Live have featured their women cast members as the years have gone by, and The Carol Burnett Show played a vital role in helping women gain relevance in the sketch comedy/variety show genre. Beyond that, Burnett herself influenced a generation of women on TV, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph. Although never overtly feminist, Burnett broke ground for women in producing and creating television. This paper discusses historical influences on the show, from vaudeville to radio variety shows, and the many ways Burnett was a pioneer for women on TV.


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 23 March 2018

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Merrill Morris