Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Larry King, The Puritan, Interviews Paula Deen, The Profligate

Or that's how it seemed to me anyway. Larry King came off like such a stiff in his interview with Paula Deen. He also seem unmoved by her southern charm and anxious to move on during every, admittedly, slightly long-winded story.

I guess she was on to promote her book
It Ain't All About the Cookin', so it wasn’t a surprise that the man who exploited Anna Nicole Smith's death for what seemed like 175 weeks in a row, would be interested in only the dirt.

Her long answers did not suit Larry's sound-bite style one bit. He kept cutting her off and it was funny, because she didn’t seem to notice. I love Paula, but I did want to nudge her, just a little, to get on with it.

She did look lovely with a magnificent head of hair, though. One question was about that. She said she was "one of God's blondes" and that she uses the shampoo in a purple bottle. That’s our down-to-earth Paula.

When her first husband moved them to Savannah, she didn't get out of bed for 2 months. She was just getting to the pinnacle of her tale....how the Serenity Prayer suddenly occurred to her and gave her the strength to go on...and off he dashes to a break.

The minute they came back, the interrogation starts again: "You were a smoker?" She pauses, looks really sheepish and says, I still am. He asks her how much she smokes. She whispers a pack and a half. He says doesn't it affect the taste of food. She says, I don't think so. He says, WELL YOU DON’T KNOW!!! Goodness! Larry, let the lady alone! Then she says, "If food tasted any better, I'd be 500 pounds". Good one, Paula.

He rushes her through the story of her cooking career, because he's anxious to start badgering her about her affair with a married man. He kept asking for more and more details.

Larry was making like a frickin' nun. "Did you feel for his wife?", he must have asked in 30 different ways. I guess Larry’s perspective is that it's better to have been married 15 separate times than to fool around with more than one person at a time. Who knew Larry was such a Puritan? Not that I disagree with him about this or the smoking, but he didn't have to harass our poor Paula.

How did it end, he just had to know. Paula paused and said softly,“I met my husband,” almost as one would utter a long repeated prayer. Then, as she’s telling the story of her Bag Lady business, he had to bring it back to the affair. He just couldn’t let it go. “You told you husband?” he asked as he grilled her in his gravelly voice. Thank goodness, she had told him or there would have been one big ruckus on the farm that night.

But still more questions from Larry:
Was it hard to break off?
Did you feel bad for his wife?

There were a few light moments. Someone asked her if there was a dish of hers that had became unexpectedly popular. “Ho cakes, and it's not the girl on the corner, I'll tell you that, Larry”... I’m not sure he got it. I half expected him to start questioning her about being a madam with a prostitution ring. (She DOES kind of look the part. And now that we know she smokes so much, I guess she capable of such immorality…according to Larry, anyway.)

There was a nice story about how she became involved with the Food Network. She met someone who introduced her to Gordon Elliott, who loved her and suggested her for a show. Of course, that story got hurried through by Larry, because she wasn’t sleeping with Gordon (not that she said anyway.) And it didn’t outrage his moral sensibilities.

Asked about her relationship with the
Smithfield company, she kept a smile plastered on her face, while Larry listed the complaints of a union trying to organize. He asked her repeatedly, “So you WOULD meet with the union?” She kept saying, yes. She’s not a politician, for goodness sake, and it just seemed like he was bullying her. Ask her once…let her answer and move on. Or devote an entire show to it and get all the facts out.

Then one more dig about her cancer sticks: To Bobby, her son, “Does it bother you that she smokes?” YES. Ok, duh, thanks Larry.

She is a cooking host, for goodness sake. AND she is a fabulous entertainer with a huge audience and I guess Larry was just trying to get himself a piece of that pie.


Cynthia said...

I did not see the interview and while I do not agree with the affair... I still love Paula. I may not cook her food but I do love her. She is down to earth and has a wonderful sense of humour.

Kathy said...

I did not see the interview either. I had no idea she smoke. It seems lots of cooks and chefs smoke. I really thought it was bad for your taste buds. Anyway, I still like her. We all do dumb things and make huge mistakes in life, who are we (or Larry) to judge. Thanks Sue for another great blog.

Emilie said...

A pack and a half? That seems like a lot. I'm not a smoker though, so maybe that's not that much.

Sue said...


What do some people say? You can love the sinner, without loving the sin...that's how I feel too.

Kathy and Em,

I think a pack and a half is A LOT!!! A REAL LOT!!! But I also think that most people who smoke that much don't do it by choice. I am enormously worried about her health. I don't know how she COULDN'T get something horrible, but let's hope her positive attitude keeps the bad cells away.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I saw that interview and it really did seem like he was asking her the wrong questions. There was so much more I wanted to hear from Paula. This is a woman who is always so much fun on TV. Why didn't he bring her out more? Why didn't he let her share her stories and talk more? She's a wonderful storyteller.

I heard a while back that she smokes. My first thought was, "Say it ain't so, Paula," and my second thought was, "Isn't her diet bad enough without throwing ciggies on top? She's giving herself a heart attack digging her own grave." But at least she admits to it, unlike certain other FN cooks *cough*RachaelRay*cough*

Sue said...


You are so right. If there's one person who gives a great interview, it's Paula. Larry was so busy chronicling her sins that he didn't give her a chance to shine.

Anonymous said...

Larry was at his worst in that Paula interview, I really think it's time for him to retire.
I still love Paula, she's an honest and strong lady with a heart of gold. I forgive her for her faults, we all have them.
But honestly, she got dealt a bad hand from Larry, and CNN.
I'm standing by Paula, and I'm tossing Larry aside. He was terrible. Paula did the best she could under the circumstances. I feel bad for her.

Matt said...

Hey there- I really enjoyed reading this post! Yeah, Larry King has a bit of grim reaper aura and didn't really have as much fun as he should have with Paula. Speaking of Paula, I just found out from PaulaDeen.com that she'll be at one of the first tapings of The Ellen Degeneres Show in September!

Sue said...

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the info. Now ELLEN will know what to do with Paula and they'll just have a grand old time...

Sue said...

I'm with you about Paula...

Anonymous said...

I saw the interview. As a Southerner, I thought Larry was just plain Tacky! Paula Deen seems to be a "real" person and is not perfect. Not that she claims to be. Read her book and you will see she tells it all with style, not tabloid soundbites. I'm swearing' off Larry King.

Susan said...

Paula's story of her life is touching. She turned her life around. She was blessed to meet a wonderful man. I heard her tell of how hard it was to leave the married man. The success of "getting her life right" has helped me in my struggles. It is difficult to change. She saw better and did better and she has been a strength and inspiration to me. Happiness can be found out of bad situations. Sue G.

Jonell said...

OMY gracious me [another southern lady here] all this is "news to me" pretty much-I googled the question..Is she a smoker? b/c asI watched on tv I was reminded that hr voice sounds like that of a heavy smoker..

just in case anyone is reading this..someone remind Paula [whom we all love] about throat cancer.PLEASE..my husband had quit for 21 long years and still got laryngeal cancer..Jamie and Bobby Please talk to her about this.We want this lady around for a long, long time!!

Jonell said...

btw..being interviewed by Larry King is beneath Paul..please don't do that again!!