There were a few things viewers could always expect when they tuned in to "The Carol Burnett Show" in the '60s and '70s: big laughs, ear tugs and Tarzan yells. The latter has remained a trademark for the comedy queen, but she as she proved on TODAY Friday, she's happy to let others have a go at her holler.
Burnett acted as the lone judge in a Tarzan-off as eager fans gathered on the plaza. One contestant paired her Tarzan cry with chest thumps; another ended with it a hearty round of "hahahahas"; and yet another offered up something that sounded a bit more blood-curdling than jungle-dwelling. But they all had one thing in common as far as Burnett was concerned: "They're all good!" she told Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
So good, they all earned tickets to see the star in "Love Letters" on Broadway Saturday night.
But Burnett pointed out that the old Tarzan call has a good use beyond comedy shows and contests. Years ago, during an after-dark walk, the actress used it as self defense.
"This guy came up behind me, like a mugger or something, and he grabbed my shoulder and said, 'OK! OK, miss,'" she recalled. "I was so mad, I turned around I went, 'Waaaaaah! Aaaaaahaaahahah!' That sucker ran!"
Now that's one versatile gag.
Burnett stars in "Love Letters" opposite Brian Dennehy at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York until Nov. 8
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