In fact, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had an entire montage dedicated to some of Kelly’s, er, “greatest hits,” they aired on Sunday, the eve of Kelly’s daytime debut.
The video underscores the difficult task NBC has in adapting Kelly for a non-FOX audience, with Kelly quotes like:
- “For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. Jesus was a white man, too.”
- “Gay rights are more and more protected and recognized in this country. Christian beliefs and Christian rights, not so much.”
- “The New Black Panther party out there saying, ‘we’ve got to go kill some cracker babies.'”
- “Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?”
- “Do you hate white people?”
No amount of money that NBC dumped into her new contract or the way they’ve tried to portray her as a folk hero is going to erase any of that as Kelly has to find a way to shift from being the face of a conservative news station.
And while the rough reviews and low ratings of her NBC News show have set the bar fairly low, there’s no getting around how awkward this first week was for Kelly.
Making a Mess with Debra Messing
Kelly’s former Fox personality started to peek through a bit on the first day, Monday, when Kelly hosted the cast of Will & Grace on her show in a bit of cross-promotional glory, what with the Will & Grace revival also debuting on NBC this week.
One of Kelly’s bits was to welcome on a huge Will & Grace fan to talk to the cast about how they inspired him. It was a really cool, thoughtful concept!
The execution though?
Kelly kinda flubbed a key question by asking Turner, “Is it true you became a lawyer and you became gay because of ‘Will’?”
Turner gracefully moved right past the flub without acknowledging it. But at the conclusion of the interaction, Kelly closed it by quipping, “I don’t know about the lawyer thing, but I think the Will & Grace thing and the gay thing is going to work out great!”
Kelly’s comments were poorly received by fans, one of whom asked Will & Grace star Debra Messing on an Instagram post why in the world she would go on Kelly’s show (See: Kelly’s Fox News highlight reel above).
Messing’s reply: “Honestly I didn’t know it was MK until that morning. The itinerary just said Today Show appearance. Regret going on. Dismayed by her comments.”
“We really wanna talk about that now?”
If you thought Monday’s Will & Grace moment was awkward, things on Wednesday with Jane Fonda didn’t go any better after her plastic surgery question.
To be fair to Kelly, Fonda has talked openly about her plastic surgery and her complicated feelings toward it in past promotional interviews so it’s not like Kelly broached a completely taboo subject. But one can also understand Fonda’s exhaustion with the topic and desire to, you know, talk about something else. (Noted: Robert Redford, also a guest during the same interview, was not asked whether or not he had ever had or considered plastic surgery.)
Still, it made for riveting and extremely awkward television. And that it was an interaction with an actual guest — as opposed to family or a fan — only made things look more awkward for Kelly.
No matter how Kelly’s show pans out — failure or success — this clip went viral and will stand as either a milestone from which Kelly will only improve or the signifier that this was never going to work.
Idk who this Megyn Kelly is but she gone after sister Debra AND NOW SHE WENT AFTER MY MOM IN LAW MISS FONDA WHAT IS WRONG WITCHU??
— MO (@momo_gmz) September 28, 2017
Not to be outdone, Wednesday also gave us the first part of Kelly’s interview with Lyle Menendez of the murderous Menendez Brothers! It was a bit weird for half of the interview to be Kelly sitting pensively at a desk while talking on the phone. But that’s at least understandable because Lyle’s in a California prison.
And it’s understandable that she would inquire as to whether an imprisoned double-murderer has any joy in his life.
But the real jaw-dropper was a random tonal shift, likely caused by bad editing but bizarre nonetheless, in which Kelly went from asking Menendez how he still stays “intimate” with his wife from prison to asking him, “Why did you decide to kill your parents.”
Yep, that happened …
Dogs and murder make everything better
Thursday was a good day! Megyn got to address major cultural rifts in the U.S. and what Americans can do to be less divisive.
To bring the country together, Kelly said one should look at the world through the “most generous prism,” which she tries to do in her life. And that it’s a shame we view everything through the “most negative and pessimistic, awful lens” because that results in “negativity and awfulness.”
Preach, Megyn! She gets it, ya know? She laments how we’ve lost that ability to just have some calm, respectful conversations with friends and family.
And she’s right. We can’t let negative forces pull us apart, all this divisive energy that strives to find what tears at the fabric of society and pulls the thread. But wait, she’s been one of those people tugging for a long time.
Anyway, Megyn also got to pet a very good police dog.
And we also saw Kelly’s follow-up interview with Menendez which focused on his brief reaction to the Law & Order series about his case and had far fewer head-scratching moments than Wednesday’s first part.
That’s quite a big day, if we’re being honest.
Everything is awesome
Ok, so all these clips circulated. And critics, many of whom were predisposed to be lukewarm to Kelly due to her previous stint at Fox News, were meh on her. The ratings, though, were okay! Mostly!
The Daily Show noted, however, how excited Megyn’s in-studio audience was for a lot of murdery chat, be it the Menendez interview or her Friday segment about the pending release of O.J. Simpson.
Yeah, that was kinda weird. The whole damn week was weird.
Opening moments of Friday’s Megyn Kelly Today:
Audience stands, cheers.
Megyn’s 1st words: “OJ Simpson could be released from prison today!”
— R. Eric Thomas (@oureric) September 29, 2017
I suspect Megyn Kelly is learning that success on Fox News doesn’t easily parlay into mainstream success.
— roxane gay (@rgay) September 27, 2017
But you better believe Kelly wasn’t going to let her first week close without taking a side-swipe at the haters as she closed her show on Friday.
The Twitter reaction was also … mixed.
And so, though she may find herself in a different environment, the cycle still begins anew.
Welcome to daytime, Megyn!
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