Comedian, Host And More

264: Barbara Walters – Remembered

I’ve read some beautiful tributes to Barbara Walters, the legendary journalist who opened doors for so many behind her.  As the former warm up act at The View, what’s missing from these tributes?   

Barbara Walters was also the legendary mom like figure who in her own way wanted to be a part of the fun. She admired Whoopi, Sherri and Joy.  There were times where I thought she wanted to be more like them.

My career has a number of fairy godparents.  In 2006, Janette Barber told Rosie O’Donnell to recommend me to Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie to be the new warm up comedian at “The View”. 

Many of you at home may not know this, but in May 2007, Rosie O’Donnell left The View under rockier circumstances.

If I were Bill Geddie and Barbara Walters, I would not have kept the friend of someone who just quit.

If you want to see me tear up, watch my podcast.  I tell a longer story about how Barbara made me feel welcome to stay at The View, the day after Rosie left.

And for me, that was my relationship with Barbara.  I was awkward and shy around her if there wasn’t a crowd.  I’d go long months of being part comedian / part soldier.  Then out of nowhere, she’d say something short and nice.  Often those compliments would come on days I needed it.

She got comedy.

I tell a long story on the Tom Kelly Show podcast about how I awkwardly put my foot in my mouth with former Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.  In front of the crowd, Barbara and Sherri bailed me out.  When I went to apologize, Barbara just patted me on the shoulder and said “You’re very funny.” And walked away before I could say anything else.

Yes.  I keep talking about my podcast, episode 264 of the Tom Kelly Show. 

Because we keep missing some of the lighter lessons I’ve learned from Barbara Walters.  GET IN THE PLUG.

Barbara knew she was a legend but hated hearing it.  I loved that she used the fancy titles when guests had them.  Ambassador, Senator.  She made a kid from Brooklyn and Long Island want to be classier.  She worked as hard on her last day as she did on her first. 

I left The View about four years ago.  There are days when I miss it terribly.  Then there are days when I think I don’t miss “The View” . . . I miss that era of the show and my life.  

I was 30.  I was at the beginning of an adventure.  I got to be on TV from time to time.  That got me other work.

I went from living in a double wide trailer to performing for world leaders.  Last month, I opened for the Prince of England.  That happened because I had a View / Barrack Obama story to tell in my interview.

I worked with great people who all knew were a part of something bigger.  

I mean seriously, Barbara and Bill assembled a great team of people.  Anyone who reports on drama at The View has not spent enough time at other jobs and shows.

If you want to hear these stories . . . open up your podcast app.  Tom Kelly Show episode 264. Because yeah, Barbara used to plug her book Audition so much I can’t help but think of her when I go on one.

And to every person with whom I worked with at The View.  Thank you.  It was the beginning of an adventure.

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