Joy Behar says Barbara Walters once became so enraged over something Behar had done that Walters literally fired her from “The View,” although she “rehired” her later.
Behar, 70 — who left “The View” this summer after 16 seasons — told the story on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Wednesday night.
Just to be clear: The incident in Behar’s story took place in 2006 — not this past summer, when by all accounts Behar decided on her own to leave “The View” simply because she’d had enough.
The 2006 story had to do with the impending addition of a new, high-profile co-host on “The View” — Rosie O’Donnell — and Behar inadvertently letting the news slip to a camera crew from “Entertainment Tonight” after Walters had instructed everyone on the show to remain tight-lipped about the O’Donnell story.
O’Donnell was due to join the show in September 2006, and O’Donnell herself was assigned the honor of announcing it herself at the Emmy Awards, Behar said (by which we assume she meant the Daytime Emmys in spring 2006, rather than the prime-time Emmys later in September).
“She fired me one time, you know,” Behar told Jay Leno, referring to Walters, who is the creator and executive producer of “The View.”
Behar then told the story. “It’s Emmy time,” she said, “and Rosie O’Donnell was coming on the show, but it was a big secret. She was going to announce it at the Emmys, so I was supposed to keep my mouth shut and everybody else was told [to] not say a word to the press until she announces it on the Emmys, so I was really trying to be good.
“So now I’m in the gift shop at the Emmys … and I’m shopping … and ‘Entertainment Tonight’ comes up to me and they go, ‘Oh, Joy, how do you feel about Rosie coming on the show?’ I say, ‘Oh, I’m thrilled. I think it’s great.’ And then I continue shopping. Then I realize what I had just done. … Have you ever felt like you’re going to have a heart attack?”
Walters later called her, and she was livid. “I just want you to know I’m not renewing your contract,” Behar says Walters told her. “It was a big mistake!”
According to Behar, Walters wasn’t kidding, but she did relent later and allowed Behar to continue on the show.
Joy also asked Leno about Sharon Osbourne’s admission a week earlier that she and Leno had once had a fling when they were both much younger and unmarried. And Leno played along. He even illuminated and expanded on the story Osbourne told on “The Talk” last week about how the two met.
Leno said it was following a performance he gave at The Comedy Store, and every night for two or three weeks he would receive a phone call at midnight from a young woman with a British accent who wouldn’t tell him her name. So after a few weeks of this, Leno said, he persuaded her to meet him in person.