After years of living in Southern California I finally made it down to the Lawrence Welk Resort to see Vicki Lawrence and Mama (her character from the Carol Burnett Show and later Mama’s Family. Her act was polished, relaxed, and funny and the audience loved her.
She began by telling us the why and wherefore of her job on the Carol Burnett Show. You see she looks like Carol and told her so by letter when Vicki was a finalist in the Farmer’s Ball Pageant. Surprisingly Carol not only answered but came to see the Pageant. Well, Vicki won, and Carol hired her. Vicki was on the Carol Burnett Show from 1967 to 1978 and on the show Mama’s Family, which developed out of a skit on The Burnett Show Family Sketches, from 1983-1990. By television standards that is a lot of air time.
The show at the Welk was called Vicki Lawrence and Mama, A Two-Woman Show. She is currently touring with it.
The first act was largely a retelling (she has written a couple of books on her life) of her life before, during, and after Burnett. She told us of her marriage with Al Schultz and talked of her brief first marriage which resulted in a song, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” which made it to number 1 on the charts in the US as well as Canada. Needless to say she sang the song. Ms. Lawrence has a pleasant voice and still sounded great despite the passage of time.
The second half of the show was all Mama. Mama is a cantankerous old bat with a sharp tongue and insights into the human condition. Mama is always right and expressed her opinion on a variety of subjects from Barack Obama to same-sex marriage. All her quips were steeped in humor and just veered from being too racy. Part of Mama’s charm is her innuendo-sprinkled observations.
Being a singer Vicki allowed for Mama to sing to and even dance and ended with a very funny takeoff of A Chorus Line with Mama kick-dancing with top hat and cane. Mama then excused herself and after a brief pause Vicki returned in a bathrobe and sang a lovely “For All We Know” which ended the show.
Take a trip down to the Welk Resort in Escondido, catch some entertainment, a nice buffet, and perhaps visit the San Diego Safari Park that is nearby. Vicki Lawrence appeared at the Lawrence Welk Resort from May 19 -21 at 1 PM.