Lily Tomlin knows that all good things must come to an end.
It was announced a few months ago that “Grace and Frankie” will bow out after Season 7 on Netflix, and on Thursday night, Tomlin shared how she would like the series to end, saying she envisions herself and Jane Fonda “going out swinging.”
“I’m hoping that we come to some epiphanous, profound realization because of our age,” Tomlin told Variety. “A realization of how much we might owe to other people on the planet, how much we might have fixed things for the kids that are coming. We want to make it funny and heartfelt and fix the world. It doesn’t look good for the kids right now, and Jane (Fonda) and I will probably escape the vicissitudes of it, but we want to say something to those who won’t.”
Tomlin revealed that she and Fonda “haven’t fully discussed” the ending with showrunners Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, but that she can assure viewers they’ll “come up with something to surprise you.”
The legendary actor was in a typically fiery mood while being feted at the Paley Honors: A Special Tribute to Television’s Comedy Legends at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday night, weighing in on the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump. Tomlin, who was later introduced by Lisa Kudrow, said she has been tuning in every day and has so far been “moved by the humanity” of many of the officials taking the stand.
“I thought Col. Vindman was very moving and I loved Fiona Hill, I loved Marie Yovanovitch, they were just great women doing hot things,” she said.
Also on the honorees list last night were Carol Burnett, Carl Reiner, Bob Newhart and Norman Lear. The evening featured special salutes to television milestones in scripted comedy series, stand-up, late night and sketch/variety series.
Newhart was first up. After an introduction from Conan O’Brien, he had the audience rolling in the aisles throughout his 20-minute stroll down memory lane. The legendary stand-up comedian talked about how he went into accounting before moving into comedy (“an obvious move”), and how despite doing its for 60 years, he is “terrified” each time he goes on stage to perform.
Next came Reiner, introduced by his son Rob Reiner, who talked about how in his eyes, his greatest achievement has been raising his three children and “sending non-toxic people out into the world.”
Arguably the largest of many standing ovations throughout the night came when Burnett took to the stage, after an introduction by Kristin Chenoweth.
“As a woman in this business it wasn’t always easy to do what the naysayers said couldn’t be done. When I exercised a clause in a contract that I had with CBS way back in 1967, it allowed me to do an hour variety comedy TV show. I was told by the network executives that comedy variety was a man’s game. … They said, and I quote, ‘It’s not for you gals,'” Burnett said with a perfectly timed pause at the end for a hearty laugh at how wrong those executives were proven to be.
Last, but certainly not least, came Lear, who thanked his “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” collaborators Jimmy Kimmel and Anthony Anderson for their musical introduction, during which Anderson attempted to sing the theme tune to each classic Lear sitcom as Kimmel rattled them off.
“I don’t know how much laughter across the years that I owe to my fellow honorees, and had I not known these people and laughed with them and for them and about them, I might have been too deceased to pick up this award tonight,” Lear said.