In anticipation of her 50th Anniversary Special of The Carol Burnett Show December 3, Burnett appeared on Live With Kelly & Ryan November 27.
The actor reminisced about when she first moved to New York and got her big break in the Off-Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress, with music by Mary Rodgers. She played leading lady Princess Winnifred in the musicalization of the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. But not long after booking the stage show, she booked television’s The Garry Moore Show.
“For almost a whole year I was doubling, I was doing Garry’s show and getting on the subway and doing Once Upon a Mattress,” she told Kelly Rippa and Ryan Seacrest. “I didn’t have a day off because we did two shows on Sunday and on Monday I would start on Garry’s show all over again.”
In acting out the story of the princess who could not fall asleep on a pile of 20 mattresses because of the tiny lump at the bottom, Burnett did the one thing her character could not do: “I fell asleep onstage. Maybe I was out for about ten or 15 seconds and the stage manager in the wings was saying, 'Carol, Carol wake up!' The audience—they didn’t know. So, then they did gave me a day off.”
Watch the full interview below: