To present the best actress TV awards for both comedy/musical and drama, Friends star and America's sweetheart Jennifer Aniston took the stage with TV legend Carol Burnett. Their "bit" was that Jennifer was living out a lifelong dream by sharing a stage with her idol, while Carol mistook Jennifer for Will & Grace star Debra Messing.
While that second part is definitely a shtick for the sake of comedy, the first part probably is not. Jennifer's delight at being next to Carol seemed genuine, especially when she asked Burnett if she could pull the legendary comedian's ear and Carol, showing that she hasn't missed a step even at age 84, dryly replied, "If you must."
If that part left you a little confused, here's the reason that was such a special moment for Jennifer.
Most people think the ear tug began when Burnett launched her self-titled variety show in 1967, but she told Emmy TV Legends in 2012 that it actually started before that. In 1955, she was cast on The Paul Winchell Show and when she told her grandmother Mabel, the woman told Carol to say hello to her on TV. Burnett explained that that just wasn't done, but that she had heard of people "saying hello" to their children by tugging on their ears, so she decided to do that for her grandmother.
She continued the ear tug during The Carol Burnett Show, adding a little piece of music that she and then-husband Joe Hamilton wrote. The lyrics, in part, say, "I'm so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started, and before you know it, comes the time we have to say so long."
Grandma Mabel passed away during the run of The Carol Burnett Show, but Carol continued the ear-tugging tradition even after her grandmother died. It's something she's known for, and getting to do it obviously meant a lot to Jennifer.