Of course, I love Kathie Lee Gifford.
On her morning TV show “Live with Regis & Kathy Lee,” Kathie Lee Gifford introduced me to America. Every weekday morning, for more than five years in a row, I sat in front of the TV and watched Kathie Lee yak about her rich faithful husband, Frank Gifford, and her perfect kids, Cody and Cassidy.
I saw perkiness were many saw phoniness. I saw high society where many saw crass. I saw confidence where many saw show off. I was her number one fan. As far as I was concerned her detractors were just jealous.
Looking back now, it was easy to understand why. Believe it or not, my first admired TV character was Jasmine Guy’s character Whitley, in the TV show, A Different World. Kathie Lee was a natural extension. I was impervious to all things obnoxious.
I began to question my perception the day I went for an interview for a job with a non-profit organization. It was soon after the Frank Gifford / Trans World Airlines flight attendant affair. My interviewers were women. I was explaining an original idea for fund raising in one of those typical scenarios questions when I mentioned Kathie Lee. It was my second interview but it quickly became the last. The faces of the women interviewing me, erstwhile warm and cheerful, quickly turned muddy like a disturbed stream.
I never looked at her the same. Ever.
Soon after my interview she left “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” in search of a greener pasture. She was going to blow up. She was going to be bigger than Reeg, larger than life.
It did not happen. Something happened on her way Hollywood via the recording studio.
When she was replaced on the show by the adorable Kelly, my eyes were finally opened. Kelly was like a better model of Kathy Lee. Kelly was human not a perfect specie in pursuit of a more perfect living. Kelly was able to laugh at herself and at others, genuinely. She was what she was not what she wanted the world to see.
Kelly was one of the few people in America who could proudly accept on national TV that they came from New Jersey. Meanwhile, Kathie Lee would not accept that she was a babysitter once or that she came from Bowie, Maryland.
I totally forgot about Kathie Lee even though her CDs were always the first to hit the ground in support of any unbalanced furniture I have.
The other day she resurfaced as the chosen host of the 4th hour of “Today” on NBC. I did not know what to make of that choice.
Then last night (April 2, 2008) she appeared on “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In less than two minutes she lost me. By the third minute she had lost all the audience. When I say all, I mean all.
She dropped names. And dropped more names. Great restaurants. Great friends. Great legs. Great sisters. Everyone in her world was fabulous, great souls, most adorable, most beautiful, greatest human beings in the world.
Nobody was regular.
It took just five minutes of watching her on “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” for me to see why I hate Kathie Lee.
She was so fake, even without counting her two fake boobs.
I still love Kathie Lee. Only that now, I have two more reasons to love her.