‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Said Comedic Acting Was Most Difficult, Called Dramas a ‘Vacation’

by Anna Dunn

I Love Lucy star and producer Lucille Ball told a Q&A audience in 1978 that dramas are a “vacation” in comparison to comedic acting. She’s not the only person to have that sentiment. Many actors will tell you that lots of comedy actors can do drama. However, not all dramatic actors can do comedy.

Lucille Ball was known for her incredibly quick wit and hilarious physical comedy. Her time on I Love Lucy truly defined the modern sitcom. When asked if she was interested in doing drama again, her answer was “no.”

“It’s much harder to do comedy. I find it much more of a challenge. I think it’s sort of like a vacation to do dramatic roles,” she said during a Q&A session at UCLA. “There are some character things I’ve read recently where they don’t even look like me or act like me, and I may get into that.”

Ball became so known for I Love Lucy that casting directors had a hard time seeing her outside of that role. It was a situation that was frustrating for Ball because people only wanted her to play characters like Lucy.

The ‘I Love Lucy’ Star Actually Preferred Stagework

The woman who played a major role in defining the modern-day sitcom actually preferred working on the stage vs. the screen. During the same Q&A session, Ball talked about why.

“I think stage is the greatest, invaluable. I take any chance to perform in front of an audience, whether it be your church, your school, or even on radio as far as that goes. In front of an audience you’re exposed, you’re bare, and it all comes out, good or bad, but you learn from it. Get all the stage experience you can,” she said.

Ball didn’t always have the best experiences during stage performances, either. For instance, Ball reportedly struggled during her run on the broadway show Wildcat. Apparently, Ball struggled with singing and dancing and remembering all her lines. At one point, she was apparently hospitalized due to exhaustion. But still, that didn’t mean Ball ever lost her love for theatre.

Ball found her success in TV comedy with I Love Lucy but she not only became a successful actress but a producer and studio owner as well. In fact, she became the first woman ever to own a Hollywood studio. Her candid and quick-witted advice during that 1978 America Alive! Q&A session at UCLA makes the entire thing truly worth a watch.