Jenny McCarthy is opening up about her “miserable” time on the daytime talk show “The View” — and comparing creator and former co-host Barbara Walters to Faye Dunaway’s explosive performance as Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest.”
In an excerpt from Ramin Setoodeh’s upcoming book “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View” first published by Vulture, McCarthy described her “miserable” short-lived stint as a c0-host on the ABC show on Season 17, from 2013 to 2014.
“You know the movie ‘Mommie Dearest’? I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow!’ I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters,” McCarthy said, referring to the 1981 film about classic Hollywood star Crawford’s tumultuous upbringing of her adoptive daughter.
McCarthy also recalled Walters publicly berating her for a tampon left floating in a communal toilet.
“She’s standing in the hallway where the guests are, yelling at me about a tampon,” McCarthy told Setoodeh. “Maybe in her brain, she went, ‘I’m going to the youngest, newest person here, because obviously she has her period and left a tampon floating.’ This is Barbara Walters. I’m not going to yell at her. So finally I said, ‘I’ll take care of it. I’ll take one for the team and I’ll flush it.'”
The comedic actress also detailed a run-in with Walters in 2007 when she appeared as a guest to promote her book, “Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism,” which broaches her unsubstantiated belief that vaccines lowered her son’s immune system and triggered his autism.
“I walked into her dressing room and she blew up at me,” McCarthy said of Walters. “She was screaming, ‘How dare you say this! That autism can be cured?’ My knees were shaking. I remember my whole body was shaking.”
But there were other times when McCarthy had empathy for Walters, when she bore witness to frequent fighting backstage between Walters and fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg.
“The table reminds me a little bit of ‘Survivor,'” McCarthy said in the book. “There was a war between Barbara and Whoopi about Barbara wanting to moderate. This is one of the reasons I decided not to ally with Whoopi. It broke my heart when Barbara would shuffle to Whoopi and say, ‘Can I moderate please?’ And Whoopi would say no.”
In the end, a gig that once represented job security and a chance to voice her opinion proved to be an overall negative experience for McCarthy, who said ABC executives tried to groom her into to fill the shoes of her predecessor on the show, the conservative former “Surivor” reality series star Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
“They did try to change me. They wanted Elisabeth [Hasselbeck] back, and I wasn’t Elisabeth,” McCarthy said. “I would literally have meetings before the show of them trying to input opinions in me to go against Whoopi. I was going to work crying. I couldn’t be myself. Every day I went home and I was miserable. It really was the most miserable I’ve been on a job in my twenty-five years of show business.”
“Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View” is out April 2 from St. Martin’s Press.