They say a critic's comments tell more about them than the person they are criticizing. I have never believed that more than today.
This morning on Live with Regis and Kelly, Kelly Ripa tore into Clay Aiken for being hostile to her when he cohosted the show on Friday, November 17th. This was astonishing on so many levels, some Clay specific and some not. I have three main comments for her.
What host with any class rips into a previous guest on her show, especially when there was no bad press about it or any serious altercation to begin with? The answer has something to do with ego and an exaggerated sense of self worth.
I find it extremely hypocritical of her to say Clay wouldn't have put his hand over a man's mouth (implying he did it to her because she's a female) and then says Howard Stern (the bastion of women's rights) agrees with her.
The show (especially the first 20 minutes) was tremendously funny. Clay is a very snarky guy and they actually played off each other with each getting digs in that were witty and made the time fly. It was good TV. Here judge for yourself (it's in two parts).
Also, they did not show the full Halloween impersonation that she thought was so funny. In the full Halloween skit, she was crass and inappropriate. I doubt that Clay found the entire skit to be very funny.
I'd heard that she is very self-absorbed but after that opening, I actually thought the show was going very well and they were both good sports. I do think her pre-conceived notion of Clay was way off and she was expecting the pre-conceived notion she had of Clay in her impersonation. We saw the Clay Aiken that we know with the quick, sharp wit. She met her match and then some.
In the next segment, they were supposed to interview Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) winners, Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke. Ripa is a huge Mario Lopez fan and made that known from the beginning. During the actual interview with Smith and Burke, she asked question after question, clearly cutting Clay out with both her words and her body language. I remember thinking "Is she punishing him for stealing the show from her in the opening? Nah, even though full of herself, she wouldn’t be that obvious and unprofessional." Clay tried to play along with it and then made what was intended to be a snarky gesture of covering her mouth with his hand. I thought "Oops, Clay.. Rookie mistake." He could get away with something like that with Jimmy Kimmel but not with Miss it's all about meeeee. She was pissed as you can see from this clip.
Clay goofed and he knew it and her reaction was unprofessional (although she took that to a new level today) and I thought she knew it too. I mean, she's an "actress"-cover up your annoyance. Overall, she made no attempt to guide him as you would do with a guest co-host. She tried to insert her authority because the show had become too much of the Clay with Kelly Ripa show prior to that.
Clay wants a talk show so I'm sure he would have appreciated some honest feedback on what he did right and what he did wrong. Some private, constructive criticism would have been welcome and taken to heart. He was the one who probably brought it up to her at the break.
One thing Clay could learn from Ripa is how to be totally classless to your guests. Her line of questioning to DWTS runner-up Mario Lopez made it clear that she thought he should have won.
The thing is, Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke may have still been in the studio, watching backstage. I couldn't help but feel badly for them and I have no personal investment in that show or in their success.
Did Kelly Ripa see some little kid throw a classic pre-school temper tantrum this weekend complete with foot stomping and screaming Mine, Mine, Mine after someone took their toy? It must have inspired her because that is what her behavior seemed like to me today. Clay Aiken took her toy by stealing her show out from under her on Friday. He made it a better show and he did it at her expense. She could have seen that and appreciated it and worked with him to make it even better.
I'm not objective when it comes to Clay, I know that. But slamming a co-host who made one rookie mistake in an otherwise highly entertaining program lacks class, plain and simple. There was one unprofessional person on Friday's show, and it wasn't Clay Aiken.
Here's the thing, Kelly Ripa. If Friday was a first audition for both of you, you'd be crawling on your hands and knees back to the set of All My Children, begging them to take you back.
But thanks for the publicity. You just made a whole lot of people interested in seeing Friday's show to see why you are pouting like a baby who lost her pacifier. I'm guessing 75% will watch it feeling that it was good TV and wondering what the hell you are whining about.
For part II - see Kelly Hipa-Crite
For additional perspectives check out Well Shut My Mouth and Call Me Kelly Ripa
So What About That Kelly Ripa-Clay Aiken Hullabaloo?
Making A Mountain Out Of A Molehill
Kelly Ripa Goes Off (The Deep End)