With regular-gal élan, comic Sherri Shepherd became the newest star on The View in 2007. Charged with keeping viewers interested in the show after the departure of resident lightning rod Rosie O’Donnell, the 40-year-old former legal secretary succeeded simply by being her unvarnished self, offering blunt remarks about her failed marriage, and other frank, fresh observations. And while she may chalk up that notorious comment about the Earth possibly being flat to a ”brain fart,” Shepherd is making no excuses for keeping it real.
One of EW’s breakout stars of the year, the entertainer chats here about sticking her foot in her mouth, talking politics with Barbara Walters, and still walking to work when she doesn’t have enough money for a cab.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did it feel stepping into this job as a full-time, permanent member of the panel?
SHERRI SHEPHERD: Well, I was really scared but I know that I’m in the right place. It feels right because I’ve never laughed as much at a job every day. I was in the elevator this morning, and I was like, Damn, I’m a co-host on The View. I was like, Wow, that’s pretty awesome. I don’t think I’m ever going to be over it. I don’t think having fun gets old. And now we have our rhythm.
What’s been the biggest surprise?
I think that I put my foot in my mouth a lot. I never knew I could inspire so many jokes. One time I Googled my name and all this stuff that I say came up. I was like, I cannot believe my words affect so many people. ”Sherri wore this hair…. What was she thinking when she wore this….” I had no idea people were gonna care so much. I say something, I’m a comic. I come from a quirky kind of place.
What’s the biggest gaffe you’ve made this year, from your perspective?
Probably when I said I didn’t know if the Earth was round or flat. It was truly a brain fart moment. It angered or shocked so many people that it crashed my website, Best Week Ever did a spoof on me. I never was a good debater. Whoopi [Goldberg] is a good debater. Barbara is. If you ask me now, is the Earth round or flat? I’d go, ”No, it’s round!” But look how much time I have to think here.
What’s the difference between guest hosting and being permanent?
There’s not as much pressure to be funny. As a guest host, you have to find a way to get in. It’s like double-dutch. You never know when to jump in. You think it’s time, and then it already passed you by. I always tell the people who guest host now, don’t be afraid to jump in. You come on The View and go, ”I don’t want to be rude.” Now I can sit back and go, Joy [Behar] and Whoopi are being funny. I can sit back and let that happen. Now I’m chained to Barbara at the hip. I’m not going anywhere. So it’s a little less pressure. Somebody asked me the other day, ”How does it feel to be a star?” I don’t feel it. I walk to work. I walked to work the other day. It was raining, and I had no money for a cab. I walked in the rain, then I forgot my ID and the security guard didn’t know me. I was going, When is this celebrity thing going to kick in? It’s not like L.A., where people are like, ”Oh my gosh, can I get your autograph?” I ride the train. I go home and get in my pajamas and go on MySpace. I feel it more if I’m out with Joy or Barbara. I feel like I’m still at my law firm doing my job. I did this charity event for [New York] Gov. [Eliot] Spitzer last night, and the car they sent for me was a 16-passenger cargo van. I’m with freaking Gov. Spitzer, I emceed the whole night and raised $1.1 million. I go out and go where’s my car? I went, This mess will keep you humble.
NEXT PAGE: ”Just as a woman I’m growing. I used to think women couldn’t work together. Because some bitches will work your nerves.”