Betty White stars in the TV series Off Their Rockers.
Betty White stars in the TV series Off Their Rockers. Contributed - Matthias Clamer/NBC, Foxtel

Betty's off her rocker

TV'S Golden Girl is a little bit naughty in her new show.

Betty White is in charge of a group of mischievous seniors in Off Their Rockers, the American version of the Emmy Award-winning Belgian hidden-camera comedy.

"It's a silly show but my agent loved it," White told The Guide.

"I explained my schedule was too full and I couldn't take another show and he said 'you've got to take this one'.

"It's evidently catching on with people. They stop me on the street and quote from various episodes."

White hosts and produces the show, which uses the preconceptions the majority of young people have about seniors to catch them by surprise.

Here's an example: an elderly woman strikes up a conversation with a young man at an airport departure lounge and then explains that she wants to join the "mile high club" with him.

Hearing a granny say "what happens at 36,000 feet stays at 36,000 feet" is sure to make anyone giggle.

"The remarks on the young people's faces, that I think makes it funny," White said.

"They don't expect to hear what they hear. Their physical reactions are totally genuine."

Shamelessly approaching strangers for our entertainment is a talented group of senior actors with a penchant for improvisation.

"It's a difficult thing to do," White said.

"It's all ad lib and I think they have to be pretty good at putting a mark on, because if he catches on that he's being put on, then the joke is over."

Unlike other hidden-camera shows, the pranks are never mean-spirited.

"It's not funny if it's mean-spirited," she said.

"You can only laugh if everyone is laughing at the same joke.

"It's got to be taken in good spirit."

As they say, laughter is the best medicine. White says it's helped to keep her feeling young.

"I love to laugh. I think it keeps your health in good shape," she said.

At the age of 90, her career has surged to a high not seen since her starring role as Rose in the '80s sitcom The Golden Girls.

The entertainment veteran, who also currently stars in the sitcom Hot in Cleveland, puts her longevity in the industry down to authenticity and a bit of luck.

"Being the luckiest old broad on the planet helps," she said with a laugh.

"I have been so blessed with good fortune and the fact that at over 90 I am still able to work this much because I thoroughly enjoy it.

"The only thing that I can say that's been consistent (in my career) is being honest with the audience. You can't pawn them.

"They've got to know you pretty well."

Off Their Rockers is certainly giving viewers a new insight into White's cheeky, and sometimes warped, sense of humour.

 

Betty White's Off Their Rockers - Comedy Channel - Tuesdays at 9pm


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