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VIDEO: Kelly Ripa Returns To “Live!” With Humor, Honesty, Strength And Perspective

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Kelly Ripa ReturnKelly Ripa demonstrated what makes her one of the most beloved TV personalities on television today, returning to her morning chat show with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor, but also as a woman not afraid to speak out in her own defense, even at the expense of network brass. She returned to the show that bears her name after a week of speculation and gossip – the central figure in a daytime television cliffhanger that could rival any of the storylines her soap opera character once faced.

Ripa has not been seen on the show since it was revealed that co-host Michael Strahan would be leaving for a full time gig on Good Morning America – a revelation that Ripa learned about practically minutes before it went public.

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Today, after speculation that she might never be seen on set with him again, she returned to the studio with a healthy perspective, joking sarcastically, “Guys, our long national nightmare is over!”

More than aware that ABC was watching closely, concerned about what Ripa might say, she continued “I’m fairly certain there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message.”

“I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show,” she continued. “The love, the show of support through this bizarre time has been overwhelming.”

To an audience standing in support and cheering her on with enthusiasm, she proceeded to do, in a healthy, diplomatic way – what many viewers and TV insiders alike had hoped she would do.

She made the network squirm a little.

“I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts,” Ripa said, referring to her time away from the show. “After 26 years with this company, I earned the right. And to be honest, I know half of you [in the audience] called in sick to be here, so we get each other.”

“In that time, I gained some perspective … I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and just say something I regret. What transpired, though, over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly respect in the workplace.”

The crowd cheered wildly to this reference – a clear jab at ABC’s widely acknowledged mishandling of the announcement, chronicled not only in the gossip world for its drama, but in mainstream news publications for everything from a culture of sexism at the network to what was being described as ABC’s “Ann Curry Moment” – a reference to how badly Curry’s departure from The Today Show had been handled and impacted NBC… a debacle that many believed was instrumental in Good Morning America stealing the ratings lead away from its competitor.

Ripa went on: “I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place I have devoted myself to, not just because of you our loyal viewers but because of all of the producers and the crew who work on this show. We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family. Apologies have been made. The best thing to come out of all of this, guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority.”

The question of whether “Live!” might lose its timeslot to an additional hour of GMA had come up in the past week, and that last statement there seemed to imply that, at least for now, the show will be staying where it is, or at the very least have a prominent home on the network for the foreseeable future. (The show is renewed for several additional seasons already.)

She congratulated Strahan: “I am thrilled for Michael. I am thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity. I and we couldn’t be prouder of you and everything we accomplished together.”

Brilliantly, Ripa didn’t harp on the matter. Everything that needed to be said had been said.

“Back to the show, this is entertainment, it’s supposed to be entertaining. Let’s get back to what we do best and start the show,” she said.

But before moving back to the chat area, Ripa reminded us all why audiences love her. She put it all in perspective.

“My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy. I think he’s right.”

And with that, the drama of ‘what will Kelly do?’ comes to a near close. Sort of. Now the question of how long Strahan will actually stay on the program, (we know now that his last show is May 13th) and who will be his successor.

But if the audience’s response was any indication, no matter who that may be, they’ll be staying right where they are.

 

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Wendy Stuart Kaplan Knows How To Party – Now She’s Throwing An Epic One Of Her Own!

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Wendy Stuart Kaplan knows her way around a party. In her book, ‘She’s The Last Model Standing,” she wrote about her headline grabbing days at Studio 54, and now throws more than a few of her own. The latest is her “Reading For Filth” and her birthday extravaganza, where she, hosts Eileen Dover and Nick Lion and others (including yours truly!) will perform a collection of wildly entertaining essays, poems, comedic rants and more. The kind of person who is so ‘on the go’ you get exhausted just thinking about it (she, however, does not) I caught up with her as she was taking a break between a radio show, a modeling job and a party tonight. If you want to catch up with Wendy, you have to be flexible… she’s probably got a full schedule that day! Her party this Friday is one that will not only celebrate a wildly varied and entertaining life, but also celebrate the spoken word from a variety of performers.

Anyone who’s ready your book “She’s The Last Model Standing” knows you’ve been partying since studio 54 – when did you first realize you were a party girl?

I first realized when I came back to New York after college! I wasn’t until then, because there was no good place to party.

Where did you go to school?

SUNY Binghamton where I majored in anthropology – and then I went to Nigeria! I definitely enjoyed partying eventually, but back then I really, really wanted to go to Africa, which I did!  I have gone back often, most recently to work on my documentaries.

Wendy Kaplan was a bold faced name for tearing up the dance floor AND going home right after.

That’s wild! But it’s not surprising to hear of that passion since you make films about wildlife conservation there. But your festive side eventually DID come out! We all know you now as a social butterfly! Whether you’re at a party, or working a film premiere – but were you as confident and comfortable in the spotlight as a kid as you are now?

I was an oddball kid. I had two things: I had my friends in the Bronx, and the ones that I had in school and they didn’t mix all that well. I loved growing up there, that was home – but I remember as a kid I would get stomachaches before parties! How weird is that? Until you asked me I had forgotten all about that.

What were you worrying about?

Social pressures – what if nobody talks to me – oh my god, I’m not pretty. I had a short mop of brown hair because my mom thought I looked better with short hair, and I had chubby cheeks. I didn’t love that look. I used to put on wigs as a kid and imagine myself with long blonde hair!

And here we are! 

Here we are, right? Long blonde hair. I morphed into it. I’m totally self made!

Tell me more about Reading for Filth – your event this Friday at Club Bedlam.

Reading for Filth came about when Brian Butterick, also known as Hattie Hathaway, used to have these events. One had the byline, “low rent reading for a high rent city.” Reading for filth is an expression for ‘I’m going to read you to filth,’ as in, “I’m gonna tell you what I really think.” The performers would do a reading of their choice. Something personal, maybe about an old boyfriend, or something someone else wrote, and they’d get up and read it in front of a room. At the last one we had, Michael Musto read from Suzanne Somers’ poetry book. I didn’t even know she wrote poetry… here the same person who wrote about African violets is also behind the Thighmaster! Brought me to tears! I imagine her thighs going back and forth as she sits next to a table with a sole African violet in its little pot, which inspired her to write the poem.

The reason we chose to open my birthday party with it is, when Hattie passed away, my friend and partner in crime Michael Fontana (Eileen Dover) really wanted to keep it going. We say it’s such a downtown New York thing but it’s a New York thing. It’s a nationwide thing. Think about what’s hot right now: storytelling. And here we have had Reading for Filth going on long before all that other stuff. Brian Butterick had been doing it for six to ten years. He was very ahead of his time. We brought it back this past year.

You love people and being around them, entertaining them, but you also love your home life – please describe your NYC living situation. You have a beautiful place… but describe your roommates.

Well, we will have to go back about 30 years when I got my first rabbit. I haven’t lived without one for 30 years, so when one dies I always have one in the wings. Fast forward to now, we always have two rabbits. It’s nice if they have another rabbit to hangout with. Also, 33 years ago we got a baby cockatoo, named her Louise, fed her formula, and she is now hanging out with me in my living room. Did I also mention our blue merle chihuahua?

In my New York apartment everyone is loose. No one is caged.  Everybody is trained to go on those wee-wee pads you buy for dogs, and everybody goes on a wee-wee pad including the rabbits… but not the dog.

Wendy’s rabbit S’mores roams free in her apartment along side another rabbit, a cockatoo and a Chihuahua.
Wendy Kaplan’s dog Nugget does what it wants.

You know how to party – we know that – your wedding was no exception…describe your epic wedding.

So my wedding was 32 or so years ago. I should know that! Alan (a renowned photographer) and I got married in our huge loft, and you had to come dressed as members of a bridal party. It was on Halloween – you could be a bride, or a groom or a bridesmaid. The only problem was a lot of people thought it was a costume party and not an actual wedding. So we had people dressed as bridesmaids with five o’clock shadows and brides with full beards. They thought this was just going to be a big loft party – because we always gave huge parties – and not a wedding. But it was actually our wedding. I didn’t get many gifts because no one took it seriously. I won’t make that mistake again!

You’ve been modeling since you were in your twenties – what’s the best thing anyone can do to look and feel like a model whether they’re walking down the street or working it in the office?

You have to know who you are. What’s your style? What makes you feel good? What floats your boat? When you put on a certain dress how does that make you feel? Don’t go with trends, go with what you’re attached to! Listen to your inner fashionista. And you know what? We all have that.

Reading For Filth is open to the public this Friday at 8pm at Club Bedlam, 40 Avenue C, NYC. For more on Wendy visit her book’s Facebook page, her personal facebook page, or her instagram.

Visit her website, and buy her book on amazon!

 

 

 

 

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All 18 of the BAFTA Acting Nominees Are White, All Directing Nominees Are Male

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“Joker” is the one to watch at the upcoming BAFTAs, but if you’re looking for diversity and female directors, sadly you’ll have to look somewhere else. All the acting nominees are white, and all the directors are male.

Led by a lead actor nomination for Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker” received 11 nominations for Britain’s equivalent to the Oscars, competing with familiar Golden Globe nominees Taron Egerton, “Rocketman,”  Leonardo DiCaprio for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Adam Driver for “Marriage Story,” and Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes.”

Renée Zellweger leads the nominations for the best actress category for her role in “Judy,” alongside Jessie Buckley,  “Wild Rose,” Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story,” Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women,” and Charlize Theron for “Bombshell.”

Here are the other notable highlights:

See the full nomination page HERE.

  • 11 nominations for Joker
  • 10 nominations for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • Nine nominations for 1917
  • Six nominations for Jojo Rabbit
  • Five nominations for Little WomenMarriage Story and The Two Popes
  • Four nominations for For SamaParasite and Rocketman
  • Three nominations for BombshellJudyLe Mans ’66 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The ceremony will be held on Feb. 2 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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The Best Golden Globe GIFS That Keep On GIF-ing.

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Sometimes an award show recap is best done with looping clips and no audio. Here are the best Golden Globe gifs making the rounds!

GIFS  via GIPHY  via NBC’s awards coverage.

THE FIRST WINNER OF THE NIGHT,  RAMY YOUSSEF ADMITTED THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVEN’T SEEN HIS SHOW ‘RAMY’ ON HULU. BUT THANKS TO HIS HILARIOUS, CHARMING SPEECH, A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE CHECKING IT OUT NOW.

I WANNA BORROW GWYNNIE’S SHEER GOWN FOR LOUNGING POOLSIDE AND SMOKING A VIRGINIA SLIM. AND I DON’T EVEN SMOKE. IS THAT MACRAME? I AM NOT HATING ON IT. I THINK IT’S DARING.

BEYONCE LOOK TRAPPED. HERE SHE IS GIVING US THE GOLD SHOULDER…

TOBIAS MENZIES SUMS UP A LOT OF FOLKS’ REACTION TO RICKY GERVAIS.

TOM HANKS FELT SIMILARLY.

WHEN YOU JUST WANNA FIND AN OPEN SPOT AT THE BAR…

BUSY PHILIPPS IS ALWAYS THERE TO SUPPORT BESTIE MICHELLE WILLIAMS. TONIGHT WAS NO EXCEPTION, AS SHE CHEERED ON MICHELLE’S SPEECH SUPPORTING A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE…

TIFFANY HADDISH AND SALMA HAYEK WERE FEELING IT TOO…

CAUGHT ON GIF: A MARRIAGE STORY‘S ADAM DRIVER CAUGHT SMILING!

ONCE AGAIN, WHATEVER WILL FERRELL DOES IS HILARIOUS:

IF YOU DIDN’T FALL FOR ADORABLE ROMAN GRIFFIN DAVIS IN HIS MOVIE ‘JOJO RABBIT,’ YOU FELL FOR HIM LAST NIGHT…

WHEN A CAMERA IS TRAINED ON YOUR FACE FOR MOST OF THE NIGHT… WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO EXPRESSION? HERE’S BRAD’S:

AND HERE’S PACINO’S: LOOK CLOSELY AND YOU’LL SEE HE’S BREATHING.

AND FOR SOME REASON THIS IS THE ONE OF JEN THAT’S TRENDING. WE CAN DO BETTER.

Jennifer Aniston Golden Globes

EVEN IF YOU DON’T WIN, THERE’S STILL CHAMPAGNE.

AND THEN IT WAS OVER. LOOK HOW MUCH TIME YOU’VE SAVED!

FOR MORE OF THIS, OR SOMETHING ELSE, OR JUST BECAUSE WE LIKE YOU, FOLLOW @BRIANBALTHAZAR ON TWITTER.

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