Whoopi Goldberg’s Surprise Return to ‘The View’ Brought the House Down

When people say there’s only one Whoopi Goldberg, for once they aren’t exaggerating. She’s the only black woman to win an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar, and a Tony award (the mythical “EGOT”).

But her connection with people is on a different level than, say, John Gielgud or Marvin Hamlisch (other EGOT winners of the past). The reason is simple: Every day on The View, Whoopi beams into the homes of about 3 million people.

In fact, she once said her popularity on the show is the reason she left New York city for the quieter New Jersey. (Fans didn’t allow her a second to herself.) So when Whoopi revealed she nearly died during a battle with pneumonia, the news clearly shook her devoted fanbase.

After hosts and producers kept hinting she’d soon return, Whoopi dropped by the set of The View March 14 to offer her own update. She promptly sent the studio audience into a frenzy and prompted an emotional outpouring from her co-hosts.

Whoopi gave her own update on the illness that nearly took her life.

It has been nearly six weeks since Whoopi last sat at her desk. As Joy Behar once again said she hoped Whoopi would be back soon, the crowd went wild when they say someone emerge from backstage — Whoopi had walked onto the set.

What followed was an extended standing ovation and chants of “Whoo-pi! Whoo-pi!” lasting nearly two minutes. After embracing her, you could see co-host Sunny Hostin wiping away tears.

When the commotion subsided, Whoopi delivered some sobering news. She said it was “her first foray out” in public following a long battle with pneumonia and sepsis that kept her hospitalized for three whole weeks. Even though she was back on the table, she admitted she wasn’t “there yet.”

“But the only way I’m going to get better is if I begin, so this is my beginning,” she added. Then she dropped a solid Whoopi line when Behar remarked she appeared to have lost weight.

“No no, I’m the only person who can go into the hospital for three weeks and put weight on,” Whoopi quipped.

Like Barbara Walters before her, Whoopi remains the essential host on ‘The View.’

‘The View’ airs Monday-Friday 11am-12pm, ET on ABC. | Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

When you have a show on the air for 22 years, there are bound to be some lulls. In one, The View seemed to lose its identity following the departure of creator Barbara Walters. But it’s made a comeback since 2016 and has reclaimed its strength in the ratings five years after Walters left.

Whoopi’s presence on the show might be the main reason The View remains indispensable among daytime audiences. Whether it’s the way she handles the panel, her clear point-of-view, or simply her star-power, the show suffers from her absence.

In the past month and a half, viewers couldn’t help but miss Whoopi’s presence as relatively routine exchanges unraveled with Meghan McCain frequently going on the defensive. (McCain seemed to acknowledge it today when she told Whoopi, “You can never leave me again!”)

As for Whoopi’s return to The View on a regular basis, that moment hasn’t arrived yet. She said she’d be working her way back in the next few weeks. But fans should definitely be happy she’s up and at it again.

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