California State University, Long Beach
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Tomlin Comes To Campus

Published: March 1, 2016

CSULB’s Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center will present two evenings with one of America’s foremost comediennes—the incomparable Lily Tomlin. The performances will be Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, at 8 p.m.

A unique comic artist who has starred in television, theater, motion pictures and animation—Tomlin will take her audience on a wise and hysterical trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Sister Boogie Woman, and Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann. Newsweek praised Tomlin’s performances as making “the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today” with her great energy, fantastic voices and body language.

Tomlin was born in Detroit and enrolled at Wayne State University to study medicine. However, her elective courses in theater arts compelled her to leave college to become a performer in local coffee houses. Although she claims she wasn’t funny as a child, Tomlin admits she “knew who was and lifted all their material right off the TV screen.” Her favorite actresses included Lucille Ball, Bea Lillie, Imogene Coca and Jean Carroll—one of the first female stand-ups on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

She moved to New York in 1965, where she soon built a strong following with her appearances at landmark clubs such as The Improvisation, Cafe Au Go Go, and the Upstairs at the Downstairs, where she later opened for the legendary Mabel Mercer in the Downstairs Room. Tomlin made her television debut in 1966 on “The Garry Moore Show” and joined the cast of the top-rated “Laugh-In” three years later. She immediately rose to national prominence with her characterizations of Ernestine, the irascible telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the devilish 6-year-old.

Throughout her extraordinary career, Tomlin has received numerous awards, including six Emmys; a Tony as best actress—as well as a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics’ Circle Award—for her one-woman performance in Jane Wagner’s “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”; and a Grammy for her comedy album, “This is a Recording.” Most recently, Tomlin starred in two Paul Weitz films—“Admission” (with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd) and “Grandma” (which Weitz specifically wrote for Tomlin). Tomlin earned a 2016 Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a comedy movie for her role in “Grandma.” For her extensive work in film, she has received the Crystal Award from Women in Film.

Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin

Tomlin is currently co-starring with Jane Fonda in the continuing Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie,” which premiered in May 2015. In the first season, Tomlin was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

“An Evening with Lily Tomlin” is the second of the Carpenter Center’s three-show Wit and Wisdom Series which offers comical and compelling insights into the human condition. For ticket availability, visit or call the ticket office at (562) 985-7000.