Her laugh is as legendary as her one-liners. A cross between Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Sesame Street's Count, Phyllis Diller's signature cackle cracks up anyone within earshot. Unfortunately, it's impossible to hear (or even spell) in print, which is one of the many reasons why you should see Goodnight, We Love You, a loving and revealing documentary about the groundbreaking comedian that arrives on DVD today. In between riotous clips from her 2002 farewell concert, Diller offers an unprecedented peek at her private life and her outrageous wardrobe. TVGuide.com joked with the octogenarian stand-up about her five decades in showbiz, her plastic surgery and her ill-fated Playboy spread.
TVGuide.com: Hello, Ms. Diller? Phyllis Diller: Hello, Raven? Oh, you're a lady! [Laughs.] I heard your name and figured you would be a man.
It's only one day into the summer Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, and already we've seen one of the best shows (albeit not on TV) that we're likely to get in the next three weeks of hype and schmooze.
The occasion: a panel late Tuesday afternoon promoting Pioneers of Primetime, a PBS special (airing Nov. 9) about the legendary vaudevillian clowns who first made TV popular. Several gave their final TV interviews for this documentary, including the late Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Red Skelton — who turned down producer Steve Boettcher's interview requests at least half a dozen times before relenting and rewarding him with three and a half hours shortly before he died.
At TCA, this all-star panel of 80-something golden-age talent, which at first glance promised to be an exercise in fawning nostalgia, quickly turned into a rollicking display of classic shtick, as Red Buttons and Carl Reiner me