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Tracey Ullman ACA Oral History, January 30, 2020.

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During the first hour of her interview with Jenni Matz, Tracey Ullman touches: On her childhood and early influences, including how she started doing impersonations; on her career aspirations when she was growing up, and on attending a performing arts school starting at age 12, and the role that class played in acting opportunities in England at the time." On leaving school at 16 and moving to Berlin as a dancer; on how she transitioned into acting, and on being cast in the improvised play "Four in a Million", which led to her being cast on a sketch show on the BBC; on how she began recording pop music, and on making music videos and touring; on appearing in the dramatic film "Plenty". On what her family thought of her early success; on meeting her husband, Allan McKeown, and on moving to the United States; on being cast in a pilot, which she ended up being very disappointed in; on meeting James L. Brooks, and on his idea that she should have a sketch show on Fox, and on doing research into American comedy before starting her show. On her concept for 'The Tracey Ullman Show' before it began; on casting Julie Kavner and Dan Castellaneta on the show; on the challenges and experimentation of 'The Tracey Ullman Show'; on the preparation and pace of the show; on the show being filmed in front of a live audience. On her character "Kay Clark" on 'The Tracey Ullman Show;' on the character "Francesca" on 'The Tracey Ullman Show', and on "Ginny Tilman"; on performing different accents, particularly on 'The Tracey Ullman Show', and on how she transforms into characters; on playing "Carol", a Black woman, on the show, and on playing characters of different ethnicities; on her favorite sketches on the show, and on 'The Simpsons' getting it start as interstitials on 'The Tracey Ullman Show.'


During the second hour of her interview with Jenni Matz, Tracey Ullman touches: On 'The Tracey Ullman Show' winning Emmy Awards, and on the end of the show; on the legacy of 'The Tracey Ullman Show', and on what she did in the years following the end of her show; on her special 'Tracey Ullman: A Class Act', and on how that show led to her HBO special 'Tracey Takes on New York' and 'Tracey Takes On...'. On directing episodes of 'Tracey Takes On...', and on her and her husband's ownership of the show; on the character "Chic" on 'Tracey Takes On...'; on going out into the real world in character; on playing "Mrs. Noh Nan Nang" on 'Tracey Takes On...'; on the writing team on 'Tracey Takes On...'. On specific episodes of 'Tracey Takes On...', and on portraying the royal family; on the end of 'Tracey Takes On...', and on how 'Tracey Ullman's State of the Union' came about; on playing celebrities and public figures on .State of the Union., and on how she decided which people and characters to portray, and on how she gets into character for impersonations. On her production schedule on 'Tracey Ullman's State of the Union' since she portrayed most of the characters on the show; on the end of 'Tracey Ullman's State of the Union'; on the death of her husband, Allan McKeown; on how 'Tracey Ullman's Show' came about, and on her impressions of Angela Merkel and Judi Dench; on the impact of Brexit on the show, and on getting political in her work. On why "Kay Clark" has appeared in all of her series; on playing Betty Friedan in 'Mrs. America', and on the 'Tracey Ullman's Show' sketch "What Were You Wearing?"; on the role of comedy in the then-current political climate, and on Mel Brooks appearing in a sketch on 'The Tracey Ullman Show'; on the power of comedy.


During the final hour of her interview with Jenni Matz, Tracey Ullman touches: On how she prepares herself to get into character, and on how to be a good leader on set; on her writing process, and on collaborating with other writers; on why she loves working in television; on maintaining confidence in her work, and on enjoying her anonymity, and on her level of fame. On how television has changed since she started in the business, and on how the industry can or should change in light of the #MeToo and Times Up movements; on the then-current comedians and television shows she enjoys; on meeting some of her comedic heroes over the years, and on meeting Muhammad Ali when she was in character; on the advice and opportunities she's received in her career. On the advice she'd give to someone starting out in the television industry, and on the balance between being a performer and a well-rounded person; on the dangers of fame; on why she resists the term "comedienne"; on the value of oral histories; on her proudest career achievement; on her then-future plans and people she'd like to portray; on how she would like to be remembered.


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