‘The View’: Why Joy Behar Doesn’t Regret Her Past Jokes About Monica Lewinsky
Joy Behar is known for her strong political stance as well as her witty barbs on The View. The talk show co-host was a seasoned standup comedian before joining the all-female panel, and brought plenty of humor to the “Hot Topics” table.
Behar was recently asked about some past jokes she made regarding President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky in the mid-90’s, and if she regrets making the former intern one of her punchlines.
Joy Behar doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to comedy
Earlier this week, Lewinsky’s documentary 15 Minutes of Shame and producer role in American Crime Story: Impeachment were brought up during the “Hot Topics” segment. Behar commented on Lewinsky’s return to the spotlight and questioned whether she had been unfairly treated over the years.
“All comedians, including me, took her on in those days,” The View star said. “It was the funniest story, we thought. And in today’s climate, there’s something about it that doesn’t smell right.”
Co-host Ana Navarro asked Behar if she regrets making those jokes about Lewinsky. Behar didn’t hesitate with her response.
“I don’t regret any joke I ever did,” Behar remarked. “Because in the moment, it was funny and it was relevant. My intention is never to hurt anybody’s feelings, so I’m coming from a pure place with it.”
‘The View’ star noted how MeToo has changed the media landscape
Behar shared how she previously performed a regular bit called “Monica’s Diary”, noting that other late-night comedy kings like Jay Leno were also capitalizing on the salacious material. The View panelist feels certain jokes wouldn’t fly today.
“But now, with the lens of feminism, and with the lens of cancel culture, and with the lens of the MeToo moment, maybe it looks a little bit different,” Behar admitted.
Co-host Sara Haines didn’t find fault with comedians using the scandal for material, but felt Lewinsky was made the scapegoat in the media.
“Comics are never the reflection I look at,” Haines said. “It’s more the mainstream coverage that’s disturbing to me when you look back. It was what was acceptable. Comics are always pushing the line. … I think we so often forget that Bill Clinton was the married one… she became a pariah… the women in Bill Clinton’s life suffered more than he did.”
Barbara Walters recruited Joy Behar for ‘The View’ after hearing her comedy routine
The View creator Barbara Walters was in the audience during one of Behar’s standup routines when she was in the process of assembling a panel for the daytime talk show. The legendary journalist thought Behar would make a great addition as a part-time co-host to fill in for her on her days off. Turns out the audience loved the comedian’s one-liners and preferred her at the “Hot Topics” table over Walters.
“The show with Joy tested better than the one with Barbara,” Patricia Fili-Krushel, ABC President at the time, revealed. “I said to [executive producer] Bill [Geddie], ‘We have to edit this report!’”
Despite getting a bit of a bruised ego, Walters welcomed the high ratings brought in by Behar. “She’s funny, intelligent and well-informed,” Walters said of the standup comic. “I chose Joy because we wanted the show to be entertaining.”