You can read it in the Sunday papers

I’ve had a busy weekend in print in the Austin American-Statesman. Here’s my interview with comedian Steven Wright, in advance of his playing a new comedy festival in Austin, the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Fest. I remember Wright from his early days starting out in Boston’s comedy clubs, and it was good to talk with him and inquire into the workings of his unique mind.

Oh, and I also interviewed Carol Burnett, who’s making an appearance in Austin on Tuesday. I know it’s usual for journalists to affect a blasé pose about the people they speak with for print, but this one is kind of special for me. It’s also one instance where my being old enough to, well, remember the Carol Burnett Show (and rather well) was a distinct advantage. It took me right back to my high school drama club, where her show was part of the cultural fabric and one student thespian of my acquaintance worshiped her as the be-all and the end-all. Carol did seem to be one of the nicest people ever and she did not disabuse me of this in our conversation and I even made her laugh a couple of times. She also told me an interesting anecdote about how she turned down the lead role in the original Broadway production of “Funny Girl” and might have given a huge career boost to someone named Barbra.

Finally, I wrote a sidebar referencing the repurposing of Burnett’s childhood home in San Antonio as an early-childhood education center (which explores the little-known connection between Burnett and former San Antonio mayor and US education secretary Henry Cisneros).

I’ll just end by quoting myself from the main article:

<<Burnett might be, as she describes herself, “a clown,” but she also seems to be one of the few remaining people in show business who is a fully functioning grown-up. If you come to the show you might get to ask her a question yourself, or just say: Thanks, Carol.>>


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