Top 10 Most Awkward Talk Show Moments of All Time

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Top 10 Most Awkward Talk Show Moments of All Time

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
The most awkward talk show moments of all time will forever live in infamy. For this list, we'll be looking at the most awkward moments from talk shows, ranking them based on infamy and degree of awkwardness. Our countdown includes “The View,” “Today,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and more!
Transcript
Sometimes, things do go wrong. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Awkward Talk Show Moments of All Time

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most awkward moments from talk shows, ranking them based on infamy and degree of awkwardness. As we’ve already covered late night talk shows, this list will focus on daytime TV.

#10: Joy Behar vs. Meghan McCain
“The View” (1997-)



It’s not rare to see a personal conflict erupt on “The View,” but the fight between Joy Behar and Meghan McCain was simply legendary. While discussing border states and immigration, McCain snickers when Behar asks to finish her point, prompting a death glare for the ages. Things get even worse when McCain states, “Part of your job is to listen to me.” This generates audible groans from the audience, a look of disbelief on Behar’s face, and a timely intervention from Whoopi Goldberg. If it wasn’t for her, Behar may very well have jumped across the table. It certainly looks like she wanted to.

#9: Bill Burr’s Killer Whale Analogy
“Good Day New York” (1988-)


If you invite Bill Burr onto your show, you’d better be prepared for some potential trouble. “Good Morning Texas” learned this the hard way when Burr veered the conversation towards “the whores [flying] in” for the Super Bowl. But that’s nothing compared to his awkward time on “Good Day New York.” Host Rosanna Scotto accuses Burr of being disrespectful to Christians, prompting Burr to discuss the rampant sexual abuse cases within the Catholic Church and comparing its response to Seaworld moving around violent killer whales. The hosts awkwardly smile and claim to not know what Burr is talking about - possibly because they don’t want to discuss child sexual abuse claims on daytime TV.

#8: Megyn Kelly vs. Jane Fonda
“Megyn Kelly Today” (2017-18)



In September 2017, screen legends Jane Fonda and Robert Redford appeared on the short-lived NBC daytime talk show “Megyn Kelly Today.” Despite a rather jovial beginning, the conversation quickly turned sour when Kelly brought up Fonda’s plastic surgery. Fonda was visibly uncomfortable with the line of questioning and steered the conversation back towards her movie, but the damage was done. The rest of the interview was rather uncomfortable, and Fonda’s body language made it clear that she was not enjoying her time on the show. Kelly was heavily criticized for her performance, and many people questioned her capability as a daytime talk show host.

#7: Tom Cruise on Prescription Drugs & Psychiatry
“Today” (1952-)



In 2005, Tom Cruise gave an infamous interview to “Today’s” Matt Lauer. It saw Cruise criticizing the use of prescription drugs, touting his expansive knowledge in psychiatry, and advocating for Scientology. He claimed to “know the history of psychiatry” and referred to it as a “pseudoscience.” He also criticized Brooke Shields’ use of antidepressants, which were used to treat her postpartum depression. It’s hard to take someone’s accusations of “pseudoscience” seriously when their religion literally teaches that an ancient alien ruler blew up people around Earth’s volcanoes, and we’re haunted by their spirits. But Tom was condescendingly certain. It’s one of the most bizarre things ever seen on a morning TV show.

#6: Jessica Simpson Drunk
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)



We guess the producers of “Ellen” forgot to vet Jessica Simpson for sobriety before she took the stage for this interview. Simpson later admitted to “Today” that she was drunk at the time, calling the interview “a weak moment” and stating that she’s too embarrassed to watch the footage. This includes Simpson slurring and repeatedly stumbling over her words, getting personal about contraception, and lots of bickering with DeGeneres. All the while, the clearly frustrated host keeps giving Jim Halpert-esque glances to the camera, knowing full well that the interview has gone off the rails and careened into a ditch. She couldn’t wait to cut to commercial.

#5: Mackenzie Phillips Discusses Her Father
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” (1986-2011) & “Today” (1952-)



Mackenzie Phillips is an actress best known for her roles in “American Graffiti” and the CBS sitcom “One Day at a Time.” In 2009, she appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to promote her memoir and revealed some horrifying accusations about her father, musician John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas. She alleges that John injected her with cocaine when she was a child, and sexually abused her. This led to what Mackenzie describes as a “consensual” incestuous relationship. She discussed these accusations in further detail on “Today” and defended her father’s actions, referring to John as “a sick man” rather than “a bad man.” Semantics aside, it doesn’t get much more disturbing than this...

#4: Kelly Osbourne on Latinos
“The View” (1997-)


We return to “The View” for an infamous comment from Kelly Osbourne regarding Latinos. Osbourne infamously claimed that if Trump kicked every Latino out of the country then no one would be around to clean his toilets. This resulted in audible groans from her co-hosts, and Rosie Perez condemned her comment by saying, “Latinos are not the only people to do that.” Osbourne claims that she didn’t mean it in that way, and maybe she didn’t. However, she was subsequently raked through the coals on social media. Osbourne later apologized on Facebook for her “poor choice of words.”

#3: Russell Brand vs. MSNBC
“Morning Joe” (2007-)


Russell Brand catches a lot of people off guard. People who may not know him very well expect just another comedian, and what they get is an extremely intelligent, fast-talking, verbally dexterous force that’s willing to debate and discuss serious matters. Such is what happened with the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” They took Brand for a joke but he took them for a ride. The hosts come across as incredibly patronizing and shallow, while Brand uses his verbal dexterity to put them in their place. The whole ordeal is equal parts horrifyingly awkward and wonderfully satisfying.

#2: Dakota Johnson’s Birthday
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)


This time, the joke was on Ellen. When Dakota Johnson appeared on “Ellen,” conversation quickly turned to her 30th birthday party in Malibu, which Ellen claims she wasn’t invited to. Johnson isn’t one to let a comment like that slide and corrected Ellen, claiming that she was invited but didn’t show up. One of the off-screen producers claims that Ellen was “out of town,” and Ellen claims that she “had that thing.” In the end, Ellen concedes and admits that she didn’t want to go all the way to Malibu for the party. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being caught in a lie on national daytime television!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Cara Delevingne Called the Wrong Name & Told to Go Nap
“Good Day Sacramento”

Wendy Williams Calls a Guest Weak
“The Wendy Williams Show” (2008-)

Caitlyn Jenner Explains Her Views on Same Sex Marriage to Ellen
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)

Tom Cruise Jumps on Oprah’s Couch
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” (1986-2011)

Kanye West’s Epic Tangent on Picasso, Apparel & Life
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003-)

#1: Kathie Lee Gifford Thinks Martin Short’s Wife Is Alive
“Today” (1952-)


On August 21, 2010, Martin Short’s wife of three decades, Nancy Dolman, passed away from ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, “Today’s” Kathie Lee Gifford didn’t know this, and it led to an incredibly awkward line of questioning. Gifford asks Short how long they’ve been together, states that they often make each other laugh, and even asks him why he still loves his wife. Fortunately, Short handles the situation with saintly grace and doesn’t give any indication that the questions have troubled him. In fact, if you didn’t know that Dolman had passed away, this segment would come across as cute and charming. But with that knowledge, we can’t help but cringe in absolute embarrassment. Some of the other segments are funny to watch, but this one hurts.
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