Holiday from Politics or Holiday with Politics?

by Bob Schwartz

Harry Reid Kathy Griffin
Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in.

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a politics-free zone. Actually, we assume that, but can’t be entirely sure, because it honestly never came up before.

We needed the break. So what was Congress doing on our New Year’s Eve broadcasts?

Was it maddening to have Sen. Harry Reid et al competing with Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly, and a bunch of pop stars lip-syncing their hits to preposterously overexcited audiences? Not really. Watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN was a complete antidote.  After six years of their improbable New Year’s Eve partnership, they are one of the great unscripted couples in television history.

Theirs is an unforced chemistry, an obviously loving friendship that viewers get to watch. Kathy is professionally outrageous, determined to say and do anything, the more embarrassing the better. Anderson is famously private, so Kathy aggressively pokes around his peccadilloes, making him demur, squirm, giggle and half-heartedly try to uphold CNN network standards.

Among this year’s highlights was a surprise visit by Psy, who understood little English, so that when Kathy congratulated his success by saying he had “money coming out of his butt,” he graciously replied, “That means so much coming from you.” But nothing beat Kathy’s relentless attempts to go down on Anderson, a sequence prompted by CNN’s report about the custom in Eastport, Maine of “kissing the big sardine” on New Year’s Eve.

Comments indicate that some found this, and much of what Kathy does to/with Anderson, to be crude, vulgar, distasteful, pointless, etc. It is edgy, but also good-natured and even sweet. Watching Anderson, one of the most respected journalists in America, protecting his private parts from her advances is just funny—especially when he made it clear that it was not something he was interested in.

Apparently those objecting to distasteful and pointless on New Year’s Eve were not aware of what was going on in Washington that night. Thank God for Anderson and Kathy. They were way more fun.

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