updated 02/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Actress-writer CARRIE FISHER, 34, is following up her success with Postcards from the Edge by creating a television situation comedy starring mom DEBBIE REYNOLDS for CBS. "It starts shooting in April, and it's a comedy in which I play a mother—which sounds reasonable—who takes care of her daughter's children," says Reynolds, 58. "My daughter describes it as an Auntie Mame dark comedy. I don't know what 'dark comedy' means, but she insists upon calling it that. I guess it means it's not the kind of shtick or slapstick I would do. It's more, uh, today. She's both writing and producing it, and that's a huge job. I know she's home right now working very hard—throwing pens in the air."

Vice President DAN QUAYLE can rest easy. Humor columnist CALVIN TRILLIN says he has pretty much put an embargo on Quayle jokes. "He isn't good material anymore," Trillin, 55, said during a recent talk at the 92nd St. Y in New York City. "It was kind of like telling a knock-knock joke or a VANNA WHITE joke, although the big difference is that Vanna's not in line for the Presidency. So I pretty much quit mentioning him. But even if I don't mention him by name, my suggestion that we have a constitutional amendment making a C average a requirement for the Presidency brought me mail from his supporters. The letters are quite stirring. They say things like, 'He's probably not as dumb as all that.' "

Comedian JONATHAN WINTERS, 65, who plays the father of a high school principal (RANDY QUAID) in ABC's new comedy Davis Rules, says that as a child he was too busy trying to cope with a troubled family life to be a schoolyard comedian. "I wasn't so much a slow student as I was frightened of failure," says Winters, whose parents were divorced when he was 7. "I had an old man who had the longest finger of any man I've ever known. He'd point at me and say, 'You're dumb!' That really helps a kid. My mother said, 'Just hang in there. Do what you can. I'll come down once every three or four years.' She had a wonderful attitude. I had a tough time. I was full of neuroses and complexes. I wasn't the class clown."

English actress STEPHANIE BEACHAM, now appearing in elegant evening clothes and diamonds in Noel Coward's The Vortex onstage in Los Angeles, says she is happy to have kicked her Sister Kate habit. Kate was last season's unsuccessful NBC sitcom that featured Beacham as a nun taking care of orphans. "I did Sister Kate to show America that I enjoyed comedy and I didn't need false eyelashes, high-heeled shoes and a fancy hat to perform," says Beacham, 43, who first scored with American audiences as Sable, JOAN COLLlNS's cousin on The Colbys. "However, I've never been so relieved and have never crossed myself so fervently and thanked God as when Kate got canceled. I don't mind being upstaged for a good cause, you know, but timing comedy with children is one of the most painful things you can possibly do, either as an actor or a human being."

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