Every interviewer has their embarrassing moments. Some are (un)fortunate enough to have it caught on tape, or worse yet, have it air live.
I’m not talking about the times when you annoy the crap out of a guest and they storm out because half the time that’s planned if you are going for controversy in the first place.
What I mean is the times when you think the chat is going smoothly and you inadvertently put your foot in your mouth and there is a collective gasp when others notice your screw up.
Two recent instances come to mind: On the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford was interviewing Canadian Martin Short. Gifford meant no harm when asking about the loving relationship Short “has” (present tense) with his wife, unfortunately Gifford didn’t realize Short’s wife Nancy Dolman passed away in 2010.
Short played along saying the relationship is (was) solid and didn’t give any indication that Gifford just had a major screw up.
During a commercial break, Gifford was informed by producers of her blunder, she felt stupid and apologized and while trying to backtrack just made things more awkward.
More recently, Kelly Ripa was interviewing Judith Light, of Who’s The Boss fame, and noted Light’s plans to visit Israel with her kids. Problem is Light doesn’t have any kids.
Unlike Short who casually rolled with the punches, Light joked about it and continued to point out Ripa’s mistake.
OK, OK, you’ve twisted my arm. I can’t call out everybody’s blunders without mentioning my own.
I was on the red carpet at the America’s Got Talent finale several years ago when I mistakenly referred to the winner’s wife as his mom. I thought I heard in my ear that the contestant was coming down the carpet with his mom and since the interviews are so rapid fire I screwed up.
Fortunately I covered by saying I was referring to “loved ones in the audience” even though I motioned towards her and said the word “mom” — whether they bought it or not is another story. And luckily for me we were on a tape delay that night so the flub magically never made it to air.
Never more has perfection become so vital during the days of YouTube and viral videos.