Carol Burnett loves laughter and reflection, the themes of her tour

America's funny lady, Carol Burnett, doesn't dwell on the past. She embraces it.

"I have some wonderful stories to tell, especially about the show," she says.

"The show," of course, is the legendary "Carol Burnett Show" that ran on CBS from 1967-1978. Burnett introduced musical numbers and performed in comedy skits along with cohorts Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Vicki Lawrence.

But each episode began with Burnett chatting with audience members and taking their questions. That's the setup of her latest "Laughter and Reflection" tour, which stops Tuesday at Melbourne's King Center.

"I enjoy it because it keeps the gray matter ticking," she says of the format she has used on tours for decades. "You have to be 'in the now' when you do a show like this."

Burnett, 77, also keeps her brain sharp with crossword puzzles. "It's my morning ritual," she says. "I attempt the New York Times one." If she gets stumped, she turns to the Los Angeles Times puzzle — "It's not quite as clever," she confides conspiratorially.

Not that her brain needs much boosting.

"I have a great memory," she says. "I can recall scenes in my childhood, with my grandmother, mother and father."

Humble beginnings

The daughter of alcoholic parents, Burnett was raised by her grandmother in a poor part of Hollywood, detailed in a 1986 memoir, "One More Time." From those humble beginnings, she went on to earn six Emmy awards, more People's Choice Awards than any other woman, the Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other accolades.

Her most recent book, "This Time Together," which was released in paperback Tuesday, was inspired by the tour and contains anecdotes from her showbiz days.

She's working on another memoirlike book, this one about her complicated relationship with daughter Carrie Hamilton, who beat drug addiction but died of cancer in 2002 at age 38.

"We had quite a history. She was a mess but I just adored her," Burnett says. "We wound up joined at the hip."

The book will be based on journals each kept for a year, then swapped to read the other's thoughts and feelings.

"I hope people will learn something from what we went through," Burnett says.

Good to be bad

Her other current project is voicing the villain in the animated film "The Borrowers," a Japanese cartoon that Disney is dubbing into English for American distribution early in 2012.

Burnett also voiced a villain in the animated "Horton Hears a Who." Is she being typecast?

"I think I am," she exclaims, with that ringing, familiar laugh. "It's fun, though."

She thinks her career's longevity was helped by being a TV star, rather than a movie star.