For more than 30 years, Emmy-winning performer Vicki Lawrence has been best known for her signature character of Thelma "Mama" Harper, the snippy, drawling, and incredibly lovable matriarch she played opposite Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway on the long-running variety series The Carol Burnett Show. She subsequently revived the role for seven seasons on the sitcom Mama's Family, and both shows - to say nothing of the role itself - have proven so enduringly popular that Lawrence has a pretty fair idea of what age group Mama most appeals to nowadays: All of them.
"She's really never been off the air since she went on the air," says Lawrence. "I mean, [Mama's Family] has run and run in reruns like the little Energizer Bunny. So the demographic of my audience is just incredible. I mean, it can be 90-year-old men and it can be 20-year-old college kids."
On February 12, this comedic Energizer Bunny - and the Emmy-winning star who plays her - will perform at Bettendorf's Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show, and during our recent phone interview, Lawrence discussed Thelma Harper's ceaseless popularity, the influence of late co-star Korman, and the abandonment of Lawrence's youthful dream of one day marrying a rich dentist.