After 16 seasons, Joy Behar bid farewell to The View today. The hour-long goodbye episode, taped Thursday, was billed as “This Was Your Life on The View” and was hosted by comic Mario Cantone (Sex and the City). In addition to showing taped messages from stars and choice clips – including Behar buckling Tom Cruise onto the couch, her declining fashion advice from RuPaul, her walking away from Bill O’Reilly, and her getting a foot massage from Matthew McConaughey – producers lined up a slew of surprise in-studio guests.
First up was Regis Philbin, who told the story of how Behar really got on Barbara Walters’ radar. As Behar killed at Milton Berle’s 89th birthday party in 1997, Walters leaned over to Philbin and asked who she was. Former View cohost Meredith Vieira was next, and she described the “faint smell of peppermint and gin” on Behar’s breath when they kissed on the show. Cue the montage of Behar kissing female guests. Then Vieira kissing Behar. Behar kissing Walters. Walters kissing Vieira. Philbin kissing Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd. And Goldberg and Shepherd kissing Behar.
Behar’s longtime friends Joan Rivers and Susie Essman came out to crack jokes. (It was interesting to hear Essman and Behar talk about how Chris Rock would be afraid to do certain material if feminist Behar was in the audience when they were all first starting out.) Behar seemed most surprised to see her friend Alan Alda, who got a standing ovation from the crowd when he appeared to tell the story of toasting Behar at her 2011 wedding to Steve Janowitz, and Tony Bennett, who serenaded her with “The Good Life” as she first sat on a stool and then danced with Alda. Bennett also got a standing ovation, as he should – he still sounds amazing at 87.
Back at the table, Walters assured Behar that whatever she decides to do next will be “smart and provocative.” Then, she gave Joy the final word. Behar thanked her hair, makeup, and wardrobe people. She thanked the publicists for the spin control and having her back. She thanked the producers (singling out Bill Geddie), the crew, the writers, and the cohosts (who she said taught a single child about sibling rivalry). And lastly, she said something she’s been meaning to say on Walters’ behalf for 16 years: ”F— Harry Reasoner.” Walters doubled over in laughter, saying nobody would understand that. (ABC Evening News anchorman Reasoner wasn’t exactly thrilled to sit alongside Walters in 1976, when she became the first female to co-anchor the nightly news.) Once the laughter stopped, Behar signed off: ”Have a great day, everyone. Take a little time to enjoy – what? – the view.”