“I wanted to be Milton Berle… and everybody in the Rat Pack. I wanted to be the guy with the tuxedo on with a cigarette with the drink in his hand just talking,” Underwood told the LA Times. “When you’re talking about total ability, [I looked at] Richard Pryor’s ability to bare his soul to the audience even though his life was heartbreaking.”
Moreover, Underwood could relate to Pryor’s heartbreaking life story. She, too, had a very troubled past. In fact, her difficulties had started right from the moment of her birth. She and her twin sister were born prematurely and, though doctors tried to save them both, her sister passed away. Underwood has kept her sister’s birth certificate with her ever since.
And her childhood was also marred by domestic abuse. Her mother tried to turn the young Underwood against her father by claiming that he was to blame for the death of her sister and even tried to stab him on one occasion. “A lot of people have domestic violence in their families, a lot of people witness a lot of things,” she said on The Talk in September 2013. “So to get through that, I started to engage my sister, my twin, as my guardian angel.”