LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The married comedy duo Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall are quite familiar with the phrase “tough act to follow.”
They had the unenviable task of following the Beatles after their historic debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The debut (Sunday, February 9, 1964 to be exact) is being remembered on a special 50th anniversary webcast as well as prime time special on CBS this Sunday.
Brill and McCall — still happy together — talked with KNX 1070’s Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson Friday about that eventful, historic, memorable night.
Maybe not so memorable for the comedians.
McCall laughs, “For us, it went lousy! It was terrible.”
Brill adds, “We were doing a sketch. We couldn’t hear each other. Because of the screaming.”
“And Mr. Sullivan,” recalls McCall, “changed our act when we got to New York. When he saw what we were doing in the dress rehearsal, he was kind enough to warn us, that his audience was going to be 14-year-old kids and that they probably wouldn’t understand what we were trying to do.”
Deadpans Brill, “Yeah, so he changes our act. And you know what a great sense of humor he had.”
Despite the fact they thought they bombed that evening, they clearly had something special. The two were game and variety show staples for decades. He often acted on shows like “Silk Stalkings” in the 90s.
McCall said, in hindsight, it was “An honor. We were there when the world changed.”
Brill adds, “We look at reruns and we weren’t as bad as we thought we were.”
The comedic duo also tell a funny story about not being able to understand what the Beatles were saying backstage and why they had to buy John Lennon a Coke.