Wendy Williams Is Back!!!

After over two months of absence, Wendy Williams has returned to The Wendy Williams Show. She arrived onstage Monday with a blonde bob, a wad of gum in her mouth, and a vague story about the health reason(s) behind her hiatus.

She teared up as the crowd, during a 40-second ovation, chanted her name. She invoked her signature catchphrase—“How you doin’?”—and after the crowd parroted back, Williams said, “I’m doin’ better now, let’s get started.”

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As Wiliams settled into the purple armchair from which she delivers the “Hot Topics” segment of her show, the studio audience gave her another extended ovation. “Thank you, I missed you too,” said Williams. “I didn’t know what to expect when I hit the block today. I didn’t know if you would wait for me, whether you would understand. I had no idea what to expect. Thank you so much for waiting for us.”

“You know, I’m not exactly a hypochondriac, but I might be a hypa,” is how her almost five-minute, halting story about her hiatus began. She was only supposed to be off the air for about two weeks around Christmas and New Years Day, but that extended through the months of January and February. Williams said she felt “thyroidish” around the end of her holiday recess (the host has discussed thyroid issues in the past, including her Graves disease), but allowed, “If I cough I’m thinking I’m dying.” She seemed to mostly blame herself for her absence. She did not mention the shoulder fracture that was reported on her Instagram in January.

“I’m 54, and not for nothing, even though you feel 25, honey, you know, you’re still your age on the inside,” she said.

“I just wanted to take some time for myself,” said Wendy, who also rode a tangent into a complaint about visiting doctors accompanied by her husband and son (both named Kevin Hunter), as well as the healthcare system in the U.S. She said during her time off, she was at home, taking thyroid meds, meditating, and that she had been going to the gym for two hours a day, seven days a week.

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“I don’t know how this outfit is reading on TV but Mother has not gained a pound,” she told the crowd.

She concluded by apologizing that it took “40 or 50” days to return to air. “It’s not gonna happen anymore and I feel good,” said Williams. And then she launched into a discussion of Jussie Smollett, whose extraordinary case she had clearly been dying to talk about in front of a national audience as it unraveled last month. Welcome home, Wendy.

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Rich Juzwiak

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.