Lately, I’ve been completely obsessed with the drama that is the “Wendy Williams Show.” Formerly a radio talk show host, with a face to match, Williams ventured into television in 2008. Her style of interview is brash and fearless, which is why I love her. Williams appears to be uneducated but that hasn’t stopped her from achieving tremendous success. Once Oprah and Tyra have retired their shows, Williams will undoubtedly be the queen of daytime talk. (It should be noted that this woman has also managed to single-handedly resuscitate the “Friends” catchphrase “How you doing?” She's a winner in my book based on that alone.) It’s got me thinking about how people clearly don’t need to be smart in order to be a success. It’s all about making the right decisions.
My friend actor Rukiya Bernard is pregnant and currently spending a bit of time watching daytime talk shows. I told her I wanted to do a column about my obsession with Williams. She told me she wanted to talk about drama. I told her we could combine the two. Here’s how it turned out:
Me: So what do you think of Ms. Williams?
Rukiya Bernard: The first show I saw of hers, she was so ill-prepared. She had Andy Dick on. During the interview, she tells him she loved him on “Just Shoot Me” and he’s like “Wow, you did your research. I was only on one episode.” Then he figured out that she thought he was David Spade. And that shit made it to air.
Me: Do you think that was strategic?
RB: Maybe, I mean it’s just Andy Dick. He’s like a C- or D- list actor. It’s just hard for me to stomach.
Me: At first I thought it was just a C-list star interviewing C- to Z- list stars. But she has some pretty big names.
RB: Yeah, that Andy Dick episode had Regina King and Snoop Dog. Those are pretty big names.
Me: I think the people going on her show are very aware of her demographic, which to me seems like a young and possibly uneducated audience. And that’s based on her commercials, which are all for community colleges with catchphrases like “It’s never too late!” and “If they can do it, so can you!” That’s what fascinates me. [Williams] is clearly uneducated and if she did get an education, it was at the school of hard knocks.
RB: Who knows, maybe it’s a persona she’s putting on to appeal to her demographic or heaven forbid, maybe it’s just her. She’s appealing to a certain demographic, which isn’t the same as Oprah’s.
Me: She seems like one of those women who love to listen to gossip and bullshit and has an opinion on everything.
RB: And creates gossip. She would invite people on her radio show and call people out on shit.
Me: That’s what I admire about her. Interviewing is an art and PR people shit all over that. They sit in on the interview and monitor what’s being talked about. Whereas with Wendy Williams, you know what you’re getting into. And that’s hard to achieve.
RB: I don’t know if it’s my cup of tea. She just wants to provoke a reaction. I don’t think she’s terribly respectful to her audience or her guests.
Me: Maybe she has a different way of showing respect. One I totally related to.
RB: Go on.
Me: She’s very forthcoming. She thinks that by giving you her opinion, she’s respecting you. If she’s taking the time to be all up in your face, that’s her showing respect. I totally relate to that!
RB: (Gives me a puzzled look.) Um…
Me: It’s hard to understand. It’s hard for a lot of people in my life to understand.
RB: I’m an honest person. If a friend is fucking up, I’ll tell them we need to have a heart to heart. But Wendy Williams is all like “You’re on my show, and I’m going to tell you what you need to do with yous and your man and the audience will all laugh, how you doing, and we’re going to a commercial break!” I don’t know how respectful that is.
Me: But she’s doing something right.
RB: She has a brand, she has her thing. Her form of respect. A formula. She loves drama and it works for her.
Me: You’re obviously done with drama. Let’s talk about that.
RB: I have a lot of people in my life who bring up drama. But I don’t bring up drama. I’m having a baby and if my baby craps his or her pants and then starts crying and starts giving me drama, it has every right to because it doesn’t know any better. But as adults, if you crap your pants, you should know how to wipe yourself. Why do we attract drama in our lives? I think to avoid ourselves. We want something interesting in our lives so we grasp onto something that has nothing to do with our core. Then we find Ms. Rukiya to vent to. And I’m like, deal with it. Be progressive. If you have drama, do something about it. Change your approach to life. The common denominator is you.
Me: I think we can stop there. You just changed my life.