Kelly Ripa is fine. Michael Strahan is fine. ABC is fine. Everything is fine! That was the gist of the lengthy monologue with which Kelly Ripa opened Tuesday morning’s episode of Live! With Michael & Kelly—her first since news broke of Strahan’s upcoming departure for Good Morning America.
“Guys. Our long national nightmare is over,” Ripa began after an audience nearly brought her to tears with their applause. “I’m fairly certain there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I’m too far off message.” She went on to thank the audience for their support and explain that she planned to take Monday off long ago (the show doesn’t tape on Fridays) in order to have a long weekend for her 20th anniversary.
As for Wednesday and Thursday of last week:
“I needed a couple days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right. And let’s be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other.”
“I am thrilled for Michael,” she said near the end of her spiel, shooting down rumors that they’re currently feuding. “I couldn’t be, and we couldn’t be prouder of you, and everything we accomplished together.”
Ripa saved the best for last, and ended by grounding everyone—including herself:
“This is entertainment. It’s supposed to be entertaining. So let’s get back to what we do best and start the show. Oh, wait, incidentally, I just want to say one thing. My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy. And I think he’s right! I think he’s right.”
Welcome back, Kelly!