A View from the Top
Friends Behind the Scenes
LHJ: What are your friendships like behind the scenes?
Whoopi: We hate each other.
Barbara: Years ago there was this show where triplets sang, "We do everything alike. We look alike. We dress alike. We walk alike. We talk alike. And what is more, we hate each other very much." But we genuinely like each other. I've been to Whoopi's house, they've all come to my house, I go to Joy's summer house...
Sherri: I spend a lot of time with Elisabeth, because we both have kids the same age. And Barbara gives the best single-woman advice.
LHJ: Like what?
Sherri: Oh my God, she gives me advice about raising my son and relationships. She also gives good advice about sex.
Barbara: Yeah, because I know so much about sex. I think I learned it all on the show.
LHJ: Do you have rules for agreeing to disagree? How do you recover from your more contentious debates?
Joy: We are a reality show of the real kind. You watch the Jon & Kate Plus 8 show, but they've been faking things for two years. We have a real show, we are real people and the audience relates to that.
Whoopi: There are times when you think, I shouldn't have said that, and I'm sorry. But nobody cares if you say something tough -- it's over and done with. They're like, No, no, no, I know what you meant. The next day you're back on cue. Or five minutes later, after the commercial, you're back to being the two of you.
Elisabeth: It's like when I have a more edgy conversation with my mother -- I know she'll love me anyway. And that's what happens at our table: We know what triggers the other person, but we also believe what we believe. It's all up for discussion, and we know we're all coming back tomorrow. So we love each other even though we don't always agree.
LHJ: Why do you think viewers believe you must really hate each other behind the scenes?
Whoopi: That idea was put into people's minds before I arrived -- that was played up with Rosie, and it stuck. I think for a while things got more personal than they should have and people glommed on to that. I think people want there to be feuds. But I am too lazy to fight -- it takes too much energy to keep it going.
LHJ: Elisabeth, what's it like being the conservative voice?
Elisabeth: I typically get two comments. One is, "I feel so bad for you." Or: "That has to be difficult to do every day." Neither is true, and I don't enjoy pity. Anyway, the show isn't as interesting when we agree.
LHJ: Sherri, what's it like being the relatively new girl?
Sherri: It is the most challenging for me because I had to step up to the plate with these ladies. But it's been the best year and a half of my life since they are warm and nurturing, especially since I've been going through a divorce and my son is on the West Coast. So I absolutely love coming to work.
Barbara: Sherri is a comedian and was coming from a different place. But now she reads every newspaper and is more up to date on things than I am sometimes.
Sherri: On my third day of the show, I did say the world was flat. I was so nervous and after the segment it was either Whoopi or Barbara who said, "Dear, you do know the world is round." And I was like, "I know that." My name became the second-highest Google search in the country. What was wonderful was that Whoopi brought the ladies in and was like, "You make mistakes, you let it go." And they said, "We're here for you."