ARUNDEL, Maine — Caroline Rhea has been doing professional standup comedy for more than three decades, but she’s been making people laugh for even longer — since she was four years old, she says. While still in elementary school, she had her sights set on a career.
"I wanted to be Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett combined, with a little bit of Bea Arthur on the side,” Rhea told 207. “Really, at age seven I was like, 'That’s what I want to do.'"
Rhea's father was an obstetrician/gynecologist who was physically funny, while her mother was an antiques dealer who was verbally funny with a dry sense of humor.
"When she was teaching me how to drive, I would take a corner [too fast] and she would say, ‘Darling, it’s not a getaway car.'"
Standup comedy has launched Rhea into all kinds of projects. Best known for her role on the sitcom “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” she’s also an actress who has done movies, TV shows, cartoon voices, and game shows (everything from “Hollywood Squares” to “Celebrity Poker Showdown” and “World Series of Blackjack”).
"'Sabrina’ was a great experience. I love all that,” Rhea said.
But there’s no question that her first love is standup.
“I like to think that I have four hours of recipes and the audience are my dinner guests, and what are we going to make tonight?” Rhea said.