The latest recipient of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the show-business legend guest-stars in Friday’s (Nov. 22) episode of the CBS crime drama as McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin) aunt. Her Thanksgiving visit to him and his sister Mary Ann (recurring guest Taryn Manning) isn’t all pleasure, given a secret she eventually reveals.
“It went beautifully,” the ever-friendly Burnett tells Zap2it of her “Five-0” stint. “I really love that crew. Everything I was doing this month, which was a lot, turned out to be great fun. I would lie awake at night with my mind spinning about each thing that was coming up, thinking, ‘How am I gonna do this?’ And it isn’t worth it, because everything was fine. It all worked out.”
Burnett describes McGarrett’s Aunt Deb as “a good person. She raised McGarrett’s sister, and she surprises them by coming over to Hawaii to spend Thanksgiving with them. I don’t want to give away he whole plot, but it ends up very nicely. and I get to sing a song!
“Her character had been a singer, and she gave up whatever career she might have had to raise the niece. They have this set, the Tiki Bar where [‘Magnum, P.I.’ alum] Larry Manetti plays the host, and they all wind up there. And Larry asks me to get up and do a number, so I do.”
Noting the current “Hawaii Five-0” also has featured such other veteran talents as Edward Asner, Burnett says, “It’s a really good show. I like the writing, I think the acting is terrific … and what better place to be than Hawaii? There’s no reason not to go, and they were really sweet.
“I didn’t get to work with Scott [Caan] that much, but I got to work nicely with Alex and Michelle [Borth], who plays his girlfriend. And when I read that Taryn was doing it, I got scared, because of her character in ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ She is very intense — and very sweet. Isn’t that funny? I’m in the business, and I still worried about that.”
Nevertheless, six-time Emmy winner Burnett ended her “Five-0” stint by paying the cast and crew her highest professional compliment: “I said to them that the whole atmosphere was like a family, and it reminded me of the way our show [‘The Carol Burnett Show’] was. Everyone from the cameramen and the costume people to the backstage crew and the on-camera group, we really were a family.”
More memories of that classic comedy-variety series will be offered Sunday (Nov. 24) as PBS broadcasts “Carol Burnett: The Mark Twain Prize.” Longtime Burnett cohort Tim Conway, Tina Fey, Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett and many others celebrate her in the event taped last month in Washington, D.C.
“When my assistant landed after the Washington trip,” Burnett notes, “she said, ‘Well, back to the pumpkin.’ And that’s the way I felt, too, like Cinderella having to go back home. … but I’m happy to be home. It’s been quite a month for me.”