Catching Up with Joy Behar
By Dustin Fitzharris
For 13 years Joy Behar has been the outspoken, feisty, and spontaneous co-host on The View. Sometimes her opinions haven't gone over so well. Just ask her conservative co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, or one of Tiger Woods's mistresses, Rachel Uchitel, (pronounced "you-could-tell"), who Behar called a hooker by the sound of her name. Outraged, Uchitel's attorney demanded a public apology and Behar gave one -- in her classic 'So what? Who cares?' fashion.
Last fall Behar was given even more time to speak her mind when The Joy Behar Show premiered on HLN. It's been a runaway hit and has tackled many issues facing the LGBT community. One show featured a segment titled 'The Mormon Church & Gays.' It went on to be nominated for a GLAAD Media Award this year for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. GLAAD also presented Behar with their Excellence in Media Award at this year's ceremony in New York.
Out spoke with Behar after she taped her show. We were hoping she wouldn't hold back, and she didn't disappoint. She weighed in on the host changes at The View, how she feels about today's biggest names in pop culture, and what she would say to Sarah Palin if they had dinner together.
Out: Ricky Martin came out. Were you surprised?
Joy Behar: Shocked! Shocked! I tell you that there is gambling on these premises!
So you're saying you're shocked?
I never really gave that much thought to Ricky Martin. I always thought that he was a really pretty boy and gorgeous and sweet. I'm happy for him.
Do you think that celebrities are obligated to discuss their sexuality?
No, I don't believe you have any obligations. I don't believe in obligations. It certainly doesn't help the gay community. Is that what they're calling it nowadays? I can't keep up.
Yes, you can call it the gay community.
Because GLAAD had all these rules about what you should say and shouldn't, and I'm happy to accommodate. I'm not sure it helps the gay community to stay in the closet. It's better for people to come out. People who are homophobic -- when they see that their brother-in-law is gay or the postman is gay or the cop is gay, it puts a face on some abstract notion of theirs that makes them either fear gay people or hate them. So, it behooves people to come out, if they can.
What currently has you fired up?
Everything is about Sandra Bullock today on my show. We're talking about Jesse James -- an unfortunate name -- I mean Wyatt Earp would have been better! He apparently is a big Nazi paraphernalia aficionado. I find that rather hideous, frankly. Apparently he has a certain affinity for Nazi memorabilia because we have a picture of him in a Nazi hat giving a salute or something. So, he's definitely into it. I think that's really kind of creepy.
Would you want to have Jesse James on your show?
Sure. I want to ask him what he's thinking. I'd ask him why he's so interested in posing with Nazi memorabilia. Why does he think that's a cool thing to do? It's not a cool thing to do. It represents the death of millions and millions of people.
What would you say to Sandra?
I'd say, how much of this Nazi stuff did she know about? I mean, maybe the wife is the last to know when it comes to cheating mistresses, but if there is a swastika in the bed, do you know it?
Jesse James has now entered rehab. Tiger Woods went to sex rehab. Do you believe there is such a thing as sex addiction?
I think there's definitely a case to be made for sexual addiction. I'm just not sure that they can be cured. Any sexual addiction to underage kids and all that other stuff is highly incurable. I'm not sure if Tiger Woods has one or if he's just a player. I'm not sure if Jesse James has one or if he's just a player. If somebody really can't stop just screwing everything in sight, I think there's a problem.
In March GLAAD honored you with the Excellence in Media Award. Why do you think you're such a celebrated figure for the LGBT community?
I don't feel that I'm a figure for anybody. I think it's great that anyone would recognize what I do. I mean, I say what I say. I tend to not give a lot of support to people who are homophobic or antisemitic or racist. I can't stand any of that. It's just my nature to detest anything like that, and it's my personality to open my mouth. So, I really don't feel like it's any extra thing that I'm doing.
Why do you think "don't ask, don't tell" is taking so long to overturn?
I think homophobia is in the society, and it's probably in the military to a large extent. A lot of people who are in charge are maybe afraid to make that step. Israel has no such policy. There are many countries in the world that don't. Maybe they were more courageous in just taking that step and hoping and believing that the soldiers were going to be able to handle it.