Lily Tomlin to Perform at PlayhouseSquare's Ohio Theatre, 3/9
And, while comedy purists might find this blasphemous, not even Lucille Ball's long reign as Comedy Queen can match Lily's seven Emmys; two Tonys; a Grammy; the Mark Twain Prize; two Peabodys, a CableAce, a Writers Guild and Women in Film award, A Drama Desk Award; as well as nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, the New York Film Critics, and-the big one-the Oscar.
So is this 40-plus-year career of Lily's finally on the wane? Hardly! While she can currently be seen on Showtime's series Web Therapy, Lily isn't neglecting her stand-up roots: she brings her one-woman comedy show to PlayhouseSquare's intimate Ohio Theatre March 9th at 7:30 pm. Described as a "human remote control," she zaps through her lovably famous characters with the apparent ease of a magician pulling a menagerie of animals from a single hat. Unlike so many contemporary in-you-face comedians, a Lily Tomlin show is a warm and uniquely affecting experience filled with comical insights and wildly witty observations about the human condition.
The wide-grinning comedienne, who had left college to perform in New York City comedy clubs, made her TV debut on The Garry Moore Show in 1966, which was followed by several Merv Griffin Show appearances. But Lily's entrance into the national consciousness came in 1969 via the ground-breaking Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. As a Laugh-In regular, Lily introduced such enduring characters as "Ernestine," the nasal, wise-cracking, snorting Ma Bell phone operator, and the devilish five-year-old "Edith Ann," whose stories about her baby brother and dog, Buster, end predictably with "...and that's the truth!"
When the long-running Laugh-In left the air, Lily and her partner, Jane Wagner, revved their talents to co-write six comedy TV specials with Lily as star. These garnered the first three of her six Emmys. But Tomlin showed she was capable of leaving her comedy safety zone to tackle drama with TV roles on Homicide and The X-Files and on film in Nashville (her Oscar nominated role), Moment by Moment with John Travolta, Tea With Mussolini and The Walker, to name only a few.
Ask fans what Lily Tomlin character is their favorite and admissions will range from her Ernestine The Operator, to her role on 9 to 5 as part of the Tomlin-Jane Fonda-Dolly Parton trio, to playing Murphy Brown's boss on the CBS-TV sitcom, to her year-long SRO Broadway run in Jane Wagner's critically-acclaimed play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.
In 2002, Tomlin joined the cast of the hit NBC series, The West Wing, playing President Bartlett's assistant, Debbie Fiderer--a role for which she received a 2003 Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Tomlin continued in the role of Debbie through 2006, the final season of West Wing. In the past few years, Tomlin has made several guest appearances on Desperate Housewives, NCIS, Eastbound and Down, and guest starred in the acclaimed FX series, Damages, in the Emmy-nominated role of matriarch of a wealthy New York family accused of financial fraud.
In 2012, Tomlin co-starred with Reba McEntire on the ABC series, Malibu Country, and this year can be seen on the Showtime series, Web Therapy, as Lisa Kudrow's narcissistic mother. She also produced, with Jane Wagner, and narrated the HBO documentary, An Apology to Elephants, for which Tomlin received an Emmy Award for Narration in 2013.