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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lily Tomlin

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Album Review

After she first came to national recognition on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, but before she became a successful character actress, Lily Tomlin made a series of albums for Polydor and Arista Records in the early and mid-'70s. Comedy albums tend to have short shelf lives, and the discs have been largely lost to history, at least until the reissue of 1971's This Is a Recording by the independent, website-based in 2002. Polydor, via parent Universal's discount-priced best-of series, 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection, gives Tomlin her first compilation, drawing upon This Is a Recording and its follow-ups, And That's the Truth (1972) and Modern Scream (1975). Tomlin's future as an actress and legitimate-theater monologuist is previewed in these selections, which find her using invented characters to make comic and political points. The first four tracks, "Alexander Graham Bell," "Mr. Veedle," "Marriage Counselor," and "The F.B.I.," all from This Is a Recording, feature Ernestine, her obnoxious telephone operator, and they are the most dated of the bits, though still funny. In a world in which the Bell Telephone Company has long-since been dismantled, Tomlin's comic points about the dangers of a monopoly are a thing of the past, and in an era when the F.B.I. is berated for not spying enough, her criticism of its wiretaps under J. Edgar Hoover is similarly passé. The Ernestine tracks are followed by several featuring the young, precocious Edith Ann, which don't seem as funny as they once did. But "Suzie Sorority," an on-target satire that remains timely, and "GRRR," a "real person" product endorsement commercial gone awry, are still hilarious and on target. The compilation demonstrates that Tomlin's comic imagination has been vast since the start of her career.

Customer Reviews

She's Got It

Tomlin is wickedly funny, to put it lightly. Her dry but outgoing sense of humor can not be denied. Buy this.

Lily Tomlin Masters of the 20th Century

She is magical; the album presents a magnificent cross section of her work over time. The compilation transcends context and subject matter and STILL cracks us up and makes our teenager children laugh today! How often does that happen? San Francisco Bay Area loves you, Lily...


I bought this on "vinyl" the minute it came out. I just bought it again and it still cracks me up! Loved her then. Love her now.


Genre: Comedy

She has been on the cover of Time, People, American Film, and The Advocate. She's been on the silver screen, the little screen, in comedy clubs, and onstage for over four decades. Lily Tomlin is a staple of American comedy. Best known for her larger-than-life and still-believable characters, many remember her from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In TV, where Tomlin introduced viewers to Ernestine, the snappy telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the little girl who sits in the big chair and tells it like she...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Lily Tomlin

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lily Tomlin, Lily Tomlin
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