As gaffes go, "TODAY" Show fourth-hour host Kathie Lee Gifford's painful interview yesterday with widower Martin Short was just about as uncomfortable as they get. Gifford, unaware that Short's wife had died a year-and-a-half-ago, gushed over the actor's long marriage, inquiring if the couple was still in-love. The interview, intended to promote the new movie 'Madagascar 3', instead shined the high-beams on ignorance and stupidity of the highest salaried kind. Kathie Lee, who has made a career of cozying up to celebrities, seemingly friendly or social with everyone she interviews, must have had her head in the Hamptons sand in August of 2010 when the rest of the world read in newspapers or on the internet of Short's wife Nancy's passing. Remember, Gifford is paid an in-ordinant amount of money to sail the program's lucrative fourth hour from advertising port to port without sinking ship.
She hit an iceberg yesterday. Yet as unbelievable as her awkward exchange with Short was, and deservedly highlighted why television viewers no longer trust the newsreaders and talking heads, the incident, though unintended, displayed Short in perhaps his greatest role: Class Act! Unlike James Taylor, who some years back corrected Mrs. Gifford on air when she asked about his deceased brother, Short never flinched. Certainly no one would have blamed him for setting the hostess straight as Taylor had done. Instead, he chose to correct her off-air, rather than further embarrass Gifford. What a gentleman! Two wrongs don't make a right. Calling her out on national television would not have erased the blunder or brought Mrs. Short back. I only wish, at the end of the program, after a staffer probably half Gifford's age enlightened her, that the apology had come after a contrite admission that she hadn't seen Short in some time, or that she had not done her homework. THAT will never happen. But props to Martin Short, who deserves an Oscar for his performance yesterday, for exuding class in the most awakward of moments. It 'Mannered' Alot!