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Battle in New Jersey; Interview With Ted Danson

Aired November 2, 2009 - 21:00:00   ET


JOY BEHAR, HLN ANCHOR: Tonight on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, while Rush Limbaugh rips the president the GOP turns on one of its own Congressional candidates. Is the right wing driving the Republican Party right off the cliff? And if so, can I watch?

Then in 1982, Ted Danson was the hippest man on television. Today he still might be. How does he do it? He`ll be here to tell us all.

And Mario Cantone takes a break from "Sex and the City" to join me in the studio.

All this and more tonight.

This weekend while most of us were watching the marathon or the Series or trick-or-treating with the kids, Rush Limbaugh went on another rant against the president. Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: He`s very young, I think he`s got an out-of-this-world ego, I think he`s very narcissistic and he`s able to focus all attention on him all the time. That description is simply a way to cut through the noise and say he`s immature, inexperienced, in over his head.


BEHAR: With me now, Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in- chief of "The Huffington Post" and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The Nation."

I mean, it`s unbelievable isn`t it that this guy is talking about narcissism? And he`s such a humble guy, himself.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: But it`s also unbelievable that Fox would put him on for half an hour on a Sunday morning show to basically just rant against the president, against the administration, against everything, without really challenging him. That is really for me the...

BEHAR: He did not really challenge him. I agree with that.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR & PUBLISHER, "THE NATION": Well with all due respect, I mean -- but this made a softball interview. I mean, this was more than a softball interview, this was sycophantic, I mean, Chris Wallace was, like, lapping up every word.

BEHAR: I know.

VANDEN HEUVEL: And it went unchallenged. And you`ve got a guy, Rush Limbaugh, who, you know, he`s a bully and he has a bully pulpit on his radio show every day.

BEHAR: Right.

VANDEN HEUVEL: And here he is getting half hour on allegedly a news channel and what he had to say was not really new. I mean...

BEHAR: He kind of...

VANDEN HEUVEL: ... out there to kind of cripple, delegitimize, take down the president. And this is not new.

BEHAR: To me he`s just like, looks like another angry white guy, you know, who`s just annoyed that they`re out of power and it`s annoying to him.

HUFFINGTON: But what`s happening is that he is really tapping into the anger that`s spreading...


HUFFINGTON: ... about what`s happening. And that`s what his danger is. You know, whenever a job numbers get where they are now, you know, moving into double-digit unemployment and foreclosures are skyrocketing, all that anger is there and if it`s not addressed properly it can be addressed and it has been throughout history by demagogues, by people who manipulate it and who look for scapegoats.

BEHAR: Right.

HUFFINGTON: And that`s really the only problem.

BEHAR: He tried to play nice, though, during the interview. Listen to this part.


LIMBAUGH: I`m an American. I love this country. I want everybody in it to do well.


BEHAR: Except gays, single mothers, senior citizens, poor people and the president.

VANDEN HEUVEL: This guy -- first of all, he looked a little too quaffed I thought for Rush Limbaugh. There was a metro sexual quality there that worried me. Because I like metro sexual and he`s looking it.

But I mean, the -- Rush Limbaugh, I mean, he also told lies. I mean, he said at one point, totally unchallenged, that this health care reform is going to take one sixth of the economy and put it in government hands.

BEHAR: I know.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Fat-check alert. I mean, you might get six million people in a public option if you`re lucky.


VANDEN HEUVEL: And just that`s part of the problem for media generally.

BEHAR: He should have really checked that.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, his father has to be just like wondering the degradation of news embodied in a family.

BEHAR: It`s shocking to me that Chris Wallace because I thought that he was, you know...


BEHAR: ... pretty even, a fair and balanced, the only one over there, maybe Shepard Smith maybe.

HUFFINGTON: Allowing him to go on and saying that the president doesn`t care about Afghanistan...


HUFFINGTON: ... that all of that stuff, you know, it`s just over the top.

BEHAR: He also said that, "I hope he fails. I hope he fails." And then he says, "I love America." You know, it`s just -- it`s quite disgusting.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But he`s been saying -- I mean, he`s been saying that for so long, to count that as news -- I mean, we need to hear it again and again to understand that a guy who challenges others as being anti-American is saying some ugly stuff.


VANDEN HEUVEL: But he`s -- the thing that strikes me about this moment and Rush Limbaugh kind of brings it on to the Fox News program, is the Republicans have declared this is all-out war, all-out war. You`ve could have a different kind of approach but all out war on Obama. He`s leading it. And they really do want to take him down. I mean, one year into...

BEHAR: But they just think they can say because everybody is saying that Obama is conducting an all-out war against Fox and Limbaugh.

HUFFINGTON: I think that...

BEHAR: So it`s a question of who threw the first grenade.

HUFFINGTON: I think the Obama administration, I mean, challenged what they`re doing and now it`s time to move on. You know, it`s not really a good use of their resources...

BEHAR: But then, Axelrod is saying that it`s a surreal day when you`re getting lectures on humility from Rush Limbaugh. I mean, do they really, is this a good strategy to attack?

HUFFINGTON: I don`t think so. I think -- there are so many real issues...


HUFFINGTON: ... affecting the people that to focus on what Fox is doing is really beneath them.

BEHAR: Right.

HUFFINGTON: And they handled that much better during the campaign, to pick your targets and Fox is not a worthy target.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with Arianna. I mean, I felt from the very beginning when this sort of started that you demean the presidency, let others do it. Far outside.

And, you know, let -- you know what? Focus on ending or the jobless figures -- getting people jobs, jobs, jobs, because then you defang or defuse these guys.

Well, no, but I think Fox -- it is true Fox is not really a news organization. It really isn`t -- it is an adjunct wing of the GOP propaganda arm. At the same time the president should not get into the mud with a network that is essentially filled with people throwing mud.

BEHAR: But he appeals to the very, very extreme base of the Republican Party, this guy, right?


BEHAR: Rush Limbaugh. Ok.

And this moderate GOP...


BEHAR: ... or upstate New York, I can`t hardly say her name, Scozzafava -- Dede Scozzafava...


BEHAR: Ok, she was a moderate Republican and now she`s withdrawn from the race. Isn`t this sort of leaving the -- mental house, mental patients in charge of the mental...

HUFFINGTON: The lunatics in-charge of the asylum?

BEHAR: Yes, that`s it, thank you for putting words -- I can`t even get, get through this. But don`t you think that that`s what it is?

HUFFINGTON: Well, it is and they`re paying a heavy price for that. Right now according to the latest "NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll," you have 17 percent of Americans who declare themselves Republican. Mind you...

BEHAR: How many?

HUFFINGTON: Seventeen percent.

BEHAR: Seventeen.

HUFFINGTON: So it`s down to 17 percent.

BEHAR: But every time I turn on the TV they`re saying that the liberals are down to 20 percent.

HUFFINGTON: Well, you see...


BEHAR: Who is left then?

HUFFINGTON: The liberals have a problem, too, because the ones who are gaining are independents. So you have 44 percent who declare themselves as independents.

Congress -- Congress`s approval rating is 21 percent. I think maybe that`s what you`re referring to.

So there is no question the Democrats cannot just say, oh, look at what`s happening to Republicans and we are going to be fine in 2010.

BEHAR: But isn`t this good for the Democrats? That it`s being marginalized like that?

VANDEN HEUVEL: First of all, I think of the Republican Party, people used to call it the log cabin. You now got a sliver or a sliver of the log and the Republicans are pushing people into the water...


VANDEN HEUVEL: ... who won`t sign to their ideological purity test. But you know, I have to say, I think it`s bad for the country. It`s bad for the country because we deserve at least two decent political parties that have something on their minds; that care about an affirmative political agenda.

And I think they`re just -- these Republicans who won`t allow a moderate Republican to get elected in the northeast, they`re going to consign themselves to permanent minority status.

BEHAR: Good.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But the Republicans -- the moderate Republicans...

BEHAR: I don`t have a problem with that, do you?

VANDEN HEUVEL: The moderate Republicans played a role. They were for choice.

BEHAR: All right.

VANDEN HEUVEL: They made sense.

BEHAR: The log cabin Republicans...

VANDEN HEUVEL: What if these people come back into power?


HUFFINGTON: Well, I think it`s pretty much rude (ph) to declare any kind of victory...


HUFFINGTON: ... because there`s still a lot that`s going to happen in the next year before the next election.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely.

HUFFINGTON: And unfortunately, the dissatisfaction that`s growing means that any independent, as we`re seeing in New Jersey...

BEHAR: Yes. Let`s talk about that.


HUFFINGTON: ... a lot of support.

BEHAR: What`s going to happen over there? Let`s look at this ad about Christie.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christie threw his weight around as U.S. Attorney and got off easy. If you didn`t pay your taxes, ignored ethics laws, would you get away with it?

Chris Christie, one set of rules for himself, another for everyone else.


BEHAR: Ok. Threw his weight around. Is that a fat joke or what? Is it or not? Come on.

HUFFINGTON: Definitely a fat joke.

BEHAR: It`s a fat joke?

HUFFINGTON: Definitely a fat joke.

BEHAR: But that`s really the whole conversation is about now the fat joke and about him being fat. It doesn`t make any sense.

HUFFINGTON: Not necessary. You know what? I don`t think he had to go there.

BEHAR: He didn`t have to go there.

HUFFINGTON: No, he absolutely did not have to go there.

BEHAR: Did he have to go there?

VANDEN HEUVEL: No, he didn`t have to go there.

BEHAR: But you like Corzine, right?

VANDEN HEUVEL: I like Corzine and I think this race shows that he is running as close as an Obama campaign as -- you know what I mean? Because we`re all talking about referendum, this is going to be a referendum on this.


VANDEN HEUVEL: I think the race upstate New York -- it`s been a Republican seat for like, 100 years, right? It`s going to be a barometer of where the Republicans are heading not, as a barometer for what people are thinking about Obama.

I think Virginia is crazy.

BEHAR: But that`s been Republican...

VANDEN HEUVEL: The guy is a right wing, right winger to the whatever...


VANDEN HEUVEL: ... and he`s running as, like, a little sheep. And you notice Palin; they don`t want Palin in there which is interesting. But he`s running as a problem solver.

New Jersey is for Corzine, who knows what will happen in New Jersey. But I think he`s run a race where he`s bringing out the base, the liberal base, the African-American base...

BEHAR: Ok one question before we leave.

VANDEN HEUVEL: ... the labor base. Yes.

BEHAR: Rush Limbaugh is saying that Obama will be a one-term president. Agree or disagree?

HUFFINGTON: Nobody knows. That`s ridiculous.

BEHAR: What do you think?

HUFFINGDON: Don`t know. You see, I think it depends on how he governs. The point is he -- he wrote a book on "The Audacity of Hope."

His campaign manager, David Plouffe has a book coming out tomorrow called "The Audacity to Win" and yet they`re governing very timidly. He needs to actually discover the audacity of governing. And when he discovers that he`ll win again.

VANDEN HEUVEL: It`s always the alternative, who`s the alternative?

BEHAR: There is no alternative.


BEHAR: Sarah Palin. Thanks, ladies.

Up next, Ted Danson joins me.



TED DANSON, ACTOR: Lately I`ve been going nuts over women`s arms. It`s really the arm pit. I just love it. It`s this other secret place to burrow into. You don`t have to slide as far down the bed. Maybe it`s laziness.


BEHAR: So great.

Some of the more memorable characters include the cranky Dr. John Becker, skirt chasing bartender Sam Malone, and boozy magazine publisher, George Christopher, as we just saw in that clip from the new HBO series "Bored to Death" which I love.

He`s actor and activist Ted Danson and I`m happy to have him here with us. Hello Ted.

DANSON: Hello.

BEHAR: I do like that show very much.

DANSON: It`s fun. Beautifully written.

BEHAR: It`s very funny and it`s clever and, you`re terrific in it.

DANSON: Thank you. Jonathan Ames is the writer and he`s a New York novelist and truly a remarkable character.

BEHAR: I saw him in one of those, you know, trailer things.


BEHAR: He`s kind of like the Jason character there.

DANSON: Yes. You know, he`s incredibly bright. Princeton, you know, really, really respected novelist. He`s like this -- he has this innocence and this -- you can`t be sarcastic around him. It just literally goes over his head. Yet, there isn`t a perversion he won`t jump into, you know, feet first.

BEHAR: He`s a man.

DANSON: Yes. That`s true. But a sweet, innocent man. Is that also dismissible?

BEHAR: Yes, but men and their perversions.

I want to show people how we booked you on this show.


BEHAR: Larry David was on my show and you called him.

DANSON: Yes, I did.

BEHAR: Take a look. We have footage.



BEHAR: Ted Danson? Can I speak to him for a second?

DAVID: Hold on, Joy Behar wants to talk to you.

BEHAR: He wants to be on the show. Ted Danson, you`re booked.

You`re more than a pretty face, Ted. You`re also hung like a horse.

DAVID: No. He`s not more than a pretty face.


BEHAR: Do you remember that conversation?

DANSON: I do. I do. That`s hysterical.

BEHAR: We caught that little thing before we went on the air so we used it. Funny, huh?

DANSON: They made me -- I wish I`d brought my phone. I`d call...

BEHAR: You could call Larry. We`ll get you a phone the next segment...

DANSON: Please, thank you.

BEHAR: And you can call Larry. You know Larry is in hot water with the Catholic League now because of this thing about urinating on the picture of Jesus.

DANSON: He splashed. He did not urinate on.

BEHAR: He splashed. That`s true.

DANSON: It was an innocent mistake.

BEHAR: I guess that`s an enormous difference. People are questioning why there`s a picture of Jesus in the bathroom?

DANSON: I would guess there are homes that have pictures of Jesus in the bathroom.

BEHAR: You think so?

DANSON: Are you saying that you shouldn`t have pictures of Jesus in every room of your house? I think you can -- no, I don`t...

BEHAR: You`ll get me in more trouble with the Catholic League than I am already. They`re not thrilled with me.

DANSON: But did the Catholic League really sit down and watch Larry David`s show every week?


DANSON: They did?

BEHAR: There`s a guy over there, I won`t even mention his name. He is paid a lot of money to do exactly that. He watches these shows...

DANSON: Yes, to monitor to make sure that they don`t cross a line.

BEHAR: And then calls you out on it, calls you anti-Catholic and whatever nonsense that he comes up with.

DANSON: Right.

BEHAR: But Larry David offends all religions.


BEHAR: He doesn`t just do Catholicism.

DANSON: He`s a car accident waiting to happen.

BEHAR: He does things...

DANSON: He does it with you in life, too. You`ve hung with him, I`m sure. It`s a scary thing to go out to dinner with him.

BEHAR: He is. But he`s not loud about it, but he...

DANSON: Larry David in Martha`s Vineyard in a nice little quiet restaurant, blue haired people, comes late to a dinner with Mary and myself and several other people. His back is to the entire restaurant and he -- thinking he`s whispering, tells us why he`s late using the "f" word over and over again and we watched the restaurant start to clear behind him. We`re having to go, you know, sorry, sorry. As he walks out he says, "Nice restaurant. Little too quiet for Jews though," and walks out.

BEHAR: Does he really?

DANSON: Yes. That`s true. That`s Larry and it`s, like, clean up behind him.

BEHAR: I like the way you play yourself on that show. Does he help you to play yourself?

DANSON: No. Your job on the show is to serve Larry up softball so he can whack them out of the park and to push him into being Larry.


DANSON: You know, to provoke him. I don`t know that I`m playing -- except that`s what I do in life too. I do love to provoke Larry.

BEHAR: I thought you wanted to say you play yourself in life.

DANSON: Yes. I like to play myself in life.

BEHAR: That`s a good trick.

You`re getting rave reviews for "Bored to Death." how did you get this part? I love that show, it`s so funny.

DANSON: Probably "Damages" opened the door for me in a lot of ways. I think people stopped thinking of, oh, there`s old sweet sitcom Ted when they saw him in the back of an Escalade having sex with a hooker doing cocaine and telling somebody on a phone to kill somebody else.

BEHAR: I love that.

DANSON: He can do other things.

BEHAR: You have a very varied career. I remember something about Amelia, which is where you played a pervert.

DANSON: Well, incestuous father, I guess that`s the same thing, isn`t it?


DANSON: Ok. Yes.

BEHAR: It`s interesting. We were talking about how years ago -- I guess the `60s or `70s there was a movie about a sexual pervert -- pedophile. After he did the part he never got another part again. I`ll tell you his name later because I can`t remember it right now.

You, that did not bother you, didn`t touch you. It just shows how...

DANSON: That piece was so thoughtful, though. It was one of the first ones that in certain countries parliament was reconvened to pass legislation after they screened that show.

BEHAR: Really?

DANSON: It was that well -- it was also before anybody talked about those things. It was such a taboo.

BEHAR: That was in important thing.

DANSON: Yes. But it was well done.

BEHAR: Very well done.

But you`re great at comedy. You have -- you`re great at drama.

DANSON: I`m good at acting and very funny writing. I don`t know that I`m a -- I`m not Larry David.

Larry is drop-dead funny. I can be funny with material that`s meant to be funny.

BEHAR: You`re a comedic actor, whereas he`s a comedian. It`s a little different. He has a comedic persona.

They always ask actors this question who do both. Which is harder, comedy or drama for you? And which do you like best?

DANSON: Comedy.

BEHAR: Comedy is harder?

DANSON: Yes, because this is funny, that`s not, that`s not, that`s not -- everything else around that one thing that`s funny.

BEHAR: I know. But crying is hard too. All that stuff that you have to do, digging deep, going down deep.

DANSON: No, that`s just makeup, a little squirt in the eye, you cry. No, no, drama, you don`t have to be good. You just have to show up and be semi-real.

BEHAR: I don`t know about that. I don`t know if I could do that.

Next, Ted`s secret to maintaining a successful Hollywood marriage, coming back.


DANSON: You know I think you did this on purpose. You self-sabotage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George, are you coming back to bed? I`m lonely.

DANSON: In a minute. Put on the TV.



DAVID: Instead of ordering a Ted Danson, people go and order a Larry David. What`s the difference?

DANSON: One tastes good and one sucks.

DAVID: Why don`t you taste it? Taste the sandwich.

DANSON: I don`t want to taste it.

DAVID: Did you even taste it?

DANSON: I don`t want to taste it.

DAVID: Do you want to taste it?

DANSON: No, I won`t taste your sandwich.


BEHAR: Well, that`s Ted Danson and his pal Larry David in a typically contentious moment from this season`s "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Ted, you`re married to the beautiful Mary Steenburgen.

DANSON: Once again please, Mary Steenburgen, who loves you so you better get her last name right.

BEHAR: What did I say? Didn`t I say it right?

DANSON: You`ve got that fear thing in the middle of her name which happens -- I see people -- you`re married to Mary Steen...

BEHAR: Well, you don`t know if it`s burgen or burgen sometimes.

She`s a beautiful and lovely thing, person, wonderful actress.

DANSON: She`s a lovely thing.

BEHAR: Lovely thing. And most marriages between two performers doesn`t always work so great because the egos clash. What is it that you do to make such a successful?

DANSON: We`re both very shallow.

BEHAR: You`re both shallow. That`s good.

DANSON: We talk about hair products and are very happy together.

BEHAR: But do you fight over whose hair products are better?

DANSON: No. It`s just the same as any relationship. We have a two- week rule. I think that`s the hardest part in relationships when you go off to Morocco to make a film for three months. That`s hard. So we have this two-week rule. Whoever can, goes finds the other one, you know, no longer than two-week separation. That`s what we started out with. We`re down to about a week now.

BEHAR: It`s a week?

DANSON: Life is drab without my wife. It`s true.

BEHAR: Oh that`s delightful.

DANSON: Well, it`s true.

BEHAR: Really. Isn`t that nice? Say "ahh`.

DANSON: I`m just using it to score points. Whenever she`s mad at me, she says, sure, you say these nice things to me on shows.

BEHAR: I know. You once said if it were up to you everyone would be in a step -- in a 12-step program.

DANSON: What the hell did I mean by that?

BEHAR: What the hell were you talking about? Like everyone`s an alcoholic it sounds like.

DANSON: Yes, well...

BEHAR: Let go and let God -- that part maybe.

DANSON: That`s good, too.

BEHAR: That`s a good one.

DANSON: That`s good. I don`t really know what I meant, but -- interesting. But I think it would be good, you know? That`s a pretty amazing program.

BEHAR: Now, this is a random question that I have to ask you.


BEHAR: You appeared on the cover of "Playgirl" magazine in the `80s.

DANSON: No, I didn`t. Did I?

BEHAR: Yes, you did.

DANSON: I am so cool.

BEHAR: Do you realize that -- but do you realize that "Playgirl" is a gay magazine? I don`t think that you realized that.

DANSON: That`s cool.

BEHAR: Yes, I`m just saying. I`m glad you -- do you have tips for Levi Johnston going to be appearing in the centerfold?


BEHAR: You don`t have anything to say to him?

DANSON: How is he...

BEHAR: How is he hung? We`re going to find out shortly. The whole gay community is waiting to see it.

DANSON: I love that my character on "Bored to Death" actually decided to experiment into bisexuality because he thought it might enhance his women readers if he actually appeared more, you know...

BEHAR: That`s right.


BEHAR: That was a very funny episode. But you play a gay guy very well I thought.

DANSON: I did, thank you.

BEHAR: So to play that whole thing. You`re multi -- you`re bisexually fascinating.

DANSON: Thank you.

BEHAR: You`re welcome.

DANSON: That`s good.

BEHAR: Sit tight, because we have more...

DANSON: I will sit tight after that comment.

BEHAR: How about -- what`s her name -- little Chastity Bono?


TED DANSON: I was in your shoes once. I mean, I was young, I had a whirlwind romance and I got married and it turned out to be a disaster. I don`t want this to happen to you now. I mean, look at - look at Diane and me. We waited five years to get married and if it were up to me, we`d wait another five.


BEHAR: That was my guest in the role that made him famous, the womanizing Sam Malone on "Cheers." That`s a long time ago now. What is that?

TED DANSON, ACTOR: That to be, like, 20 plus.

BEHAR: You look gorgeous still. You`re so hip and stunning still.

DANSON: I don`t know what it is.

BEHAR: Are you taking hormones?


BEHAR: You know let`s talk politics. I read that last year you said that you would have done anything in your power to make sure a Democrat won.


BEHAR: How do you think Obama`s doing?

DANSON: I think, you know, how -- to grade any -- I think he`s doing incredibly well. I think he`s the right person for the job, I think he`s incredibly bright and thoughtful, but to sit there in this pile of crap that the world is facing that has been becoming a pile of crap for a very long time and grade that person as they dig themselves out is kind of crazy. So I think he`s doing really well. Is there a pile of crap we`re still digging out of? Yes. Absolutely

BEHAR: George Bush and that Administration left us with a lot of that crap in my opinion.

DANSON: In my opinion as well.

BEHAR: OK. So we`re agreed on that. Now just yesterday Rush Limbaugh said Obama is very narcissistic and is over his head. What do you think of that?

DANSON: Rush thinks somebody`s narcissistic?

BEHAR: Yes, yes, I know the chutzpa.

DANSON: He`s a wonderful entertainer, Rush. I think that`s a very funny comment. Well done, Rush.

BEHAR: I don`t think he meant it to be funny.

DANSON: Oh but he is. He does. Isn`t he one of the highest paid entertainers?


DANSON: So he`s an entertainer.

BEHAR: I think he`s worth, like, going to be making or he made $400 million.

DANSON: Right. So that -- yes. The people of the people, Rush, one of us, yeah. Those are the people that really piss me off, to be honest. I totally understand people who are angry and are fearful. I understand people who church is a huge part of their life. I understand people not wanting their daughters to watch MTV. I understand and have empathy for all those people. The people that come along and make use of those people`s fears and insecurities to make money or to make something, a position for them, you know, more palatable, those people are shame, shame.

BEHAR: You want to name names?

DANSON: Rush. We`re talking Rush.

BEHAR: Who else?

DANSON: You know what? Pretty much the religious right does that. By in large. You know?

BEHAR: They`re extremists?


BEHAR: They prey on people`s fears?

DANSON: Yes. And the people`s fears, you totally understand. I understand that. I understand wanting to go to a mega church because the rest of your life is tough. You know? I understand all of that, but then you come along and organize those people off of their fears and anger and I think that`s too bad.

BEHAR: And encourage them to vote against their interests. That`s what drives me bananas.

DANSON: Yes, I know, I know. Who`s going to be able to get the government, what do you call it, within insurance, the government -- option.

BEHAR: The public option.

DANSON: The public option. Right. Only people who don`t have insurance.

BEHAR: Right.

DANSON: So people who don`t have insurance would rather not --

BEHAR: They don`t want it.

DANSON: They don`t want it.

BEHAR: Because they don`t want to have too much competition for the insurance companies. Why --

DANSON: Yes as opposed to getting covered.

BEHAR: Yes, well I guess they -- people need to be educated more than they are in this country and they`re not. I was a teacher. I know what goes on. Oh, yes.

DANSON: What did you teach?

BEHAR: Oh yes! I taught English -- high school English.

DANSON: Nice. Nice.

BEHAR: Yes. So you and your wife, Mary, are pals with the Clintons. Am I right?

DANSON: I`m running over everything I said about Rush going uh-oh.

BEHAR: Oh don`t worry about him, what`s he going to do to you? He`s all talk, bluster.

DANSON: He thinks I`m an idiot already.

BEHAR: He thinks you`re an idiot? That`s a compliment.

DANSON: Oh yes. He thinks everything I do with the environment is idiotic.

BEHAR: OH The environment. You want to discuss that a little bit or should we talk about the Clintons?

DANSON: Oh you know, let`s talk about fun things.

BEHAR: OK. The Clintons attended your wedding.


BEHAR: Together?

DANSON: Yes. To explain that, Mary became kind of famous in little rock in Arkansas about the same time the president became governor or Bill became governor. So they literally raised kids together. He gave her away at our wedding because her father had died. They truly are -- we are truly family friends.

BEHAR: You`re friends with the Clintons?


BEHAR: Were they fun guests at the wedding? Did they dance?

DANSON: Super, yes.

BEHAR: Were they kissy-kissy?

DANSON: All of the above. Yes.

BEHAR: They were?


BEHAR: So do you think that marriage is steady now?

DANSON: Yes dear god, yes.

BEHAR: Do you believe that?

DANSON: Totally. I don`t believe it. I experience it.

BEHAR: Well you know you get to a certain age, and it`s like -- what am I going to be bothered with anything else right now, you know? I think they might be at that point.

DANSON: I -- well, wait. I`m at that certain age. I`m the same age.

BEHAR: I know, but you`re --

DANSON: Oh you`re trying to be shocking.

BEHAR: I am trying to be shocking. What about the statue of Bill? He got a statue of Kosovo. I thought that was really nice.


BEHAR: Because of, you know, he stopped the wave of ethnic cleansing in Serbia, or so I read. I think that that`s a lovely thing for him. He must be very proud of that.

DANSON: I bet he is. I didn`t know that.

BEHAR: I thought he was a pretty good president.

DANSON: I think that in the midst of all of that chaos, 72 percent of the world -- of America woke up and thought and believed that he was taking care of them.

BEHAR: But he regrets he didn`t go in there earlier. He does.

DANSON: Yes, yes. No, no, he does.

BEHAR: I mean, I think -- we were on a roll with him. We were in a surplus. People were working. And then along comes 9/11 and the world changed.

DANSON: The world was so on our side. That moment, the world was so on our side and we did kind of squander that.

BEHAR: We squandered it big time and are still paying for that. You know, they talk about Obama not deserving the Nobel Peace Prize. He got us out of that hole where people hated us after George Bush`s war in Iraq and I think he deserves it just for that because he has people -

DANSON: I think they are being activists, too. I think the panel or whoever gives the Nobel Prize were being activists. They were saying, you know, here, we`re going to put the mantle of peace prize on you and almost force the conversation to be about peace. I think they were being activists because clearly after six, eight months, or whatever it was, one could argue that, you know, wait, what has he done? So I`m sure it was great for his distracters. But I think they were being activists and trying to stir the pot and make peace be the conversation and not war.

BEHAR: Right. I saw George will on George Stephanopoulos this weekend and he was saying, yes, so he changed the conversation in the world and now we have people around the world that don`t think we`re idiots anymore and don`t think we`re warmongers. What good is it, he said? You know, so what? He thought it was just a big nothing.

DANSON: Who knows? You know, we judge so quickly, you know, the second after something happens, and who -- you don`t know. All these little things have ripples but we don`t talk about -- we don`t wait for the ripple before we start judging and, you know --

BEHAR: Right.

DANSON: -- and figuring things out.

BEHAR: Now you just returned from Europe. You were lobbying for the WTA, The World Trade Association to save the oceans.


BEHAR: Why does it say world trade association if it`s WTO?

DANSON: I don`t know. Let`s get names because it`s WTO.

BEHAR: O its o-association?

DANSON: Organization.

BEHAR: Organization

DANSON: Or agonization. They do trade agreements. It takes those eight years to figure out, you know, if you lower your tariffs on computers we`ll give you more cotton. So there`s this massive agreement that it take forever to hammer out. And for the first time ever they`re talking about reducing fishing subsidies because fish -- there too many boats out there. It`s an $80 billion a year industry.

BEHAR: $80 billion?

DANSON: Yes. Of landed fish around the world. $20 billion of that is subsidized and for bad subsidies, meaning increasing catch so that you`re paying people to go out and do more of the wrong thing.

BEHAR: And they`re depleting the world`s supply?

DANSON: Yes about 18 percent of our fisheries have collapsed. 75 percent the United Nations says are either fully or overfished.

BEHAR: You know what, there`s not going to be anything left to eat soon.

DANSON: Yes but there can be because fish bounce back. So if you do the right thing, it could be okay - with a lot of work.

BEHAR: Let me ask you a question from people who wrote in to us about you. Okay?


BEHAR: Do you still follow a vegan diet?

DANSON: I`m an actor from L.A. I follow vegan diet. One week, the next week -- I`m in Chinatown eating one of those puffy things with pork in them. I`m a, you know, a clown from L.A.

BEHAR: I see. Everyone in L.A. that I talk to worries about mercury poisoning from fish. Only in Los Angeles. No one in New York. I`ve never heard it in New York.

DANSON: "The New York times" did a study where one quarter of all women are pregnant women having pregnant bearing news or too much mercury in their system.

BEHAR: Well pregnant. I`m not pregnant. Why do I have to worry about it?

DANSON: Because there`s always after this show. I don`t know.

BEHAR: Thank you so much for coming on the show. By the way, cilantro counteracts mercury. I`m just saying.


BEHAR: Thanks to Ted Danson. His great new show is "Bored to Death" on HBO. Next, the always outrageous Mario Cantone. Fasten your seat belts.

DANSON: Damn, you are fast.



Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, and go.

Oh, I love them all.

Sure. Got your satin with the lace applique.

I think the white is too white.

No, but with your skin tone --

Hates it. Move on.


BEHAR: You know him from his appearances on TV, in the movies and on Broadway. I know him as the dirty little laugh whore he is. This week he`s performing as the New York comedy festival from Thursday through Sunday and today sitting here with me, my pal Mario Cantone.

MARIO CANTONE, ACTRESS: Hello, Joy, I`m only going to look into the camera, not speak to you.

BEHAR: Look over here bubba.

CANTONE: Oh, I`m sorry. How old am I?

BEHAR: So, I want to talk to you about so many things.

CANTONE: So many things. First of all, congratulations, this is really nice, it`s just you and me on HLN

BEHAR: Let`s start with Chaz Bono.

CANTONE: Chastity Bono?

BEHAR: Chastity has become Chaz.

CANTONE: Did she get the penis?

BEHAR: I don`t know. S

CANTONE: Then she`s not a man yet.

BEHAR: She has everything else, she`s got the beard, and she`s got the - the hair coming out of her face.

CANTONE: She does?

BEHAR: Yes. She feels like a man and she`s a man now.

CANTONE: Well because she`s a man. She`s a man, my daughter`s a man well, and that`s good that she`s a man.

BEHAR: Hey, you know Cher would be happy, don`t you think?

CANTONE: She`s so happy! If Cher was in opera, she would be like. I was devastating when my daughter told me then I grew to accept her. And then she said, mom I want a penis. And I said go get your penis. Now.

BEHAR: All right. Wait.

CANTONE: That`s Cher`s opera.

BEHAR: OK. What about Lindsay Lohan.

CANTONE: I love -- see, I love Lindsay Lohan.

BEHAR: She`s cute, nice girl. Crazy.

CANTONE: She`s mentioned in the same breath with all those other crazy people because she`s actually a very talented actress but has the crazy parents and all that.

BEHAR: She`s saying her father wants conservatorship over here. Isn`t she, like, 40? How old is the girl?

CANTONE: No she`s young.

BEHAR: She`s too old for her father to have conservative ship over here.

CANTONE: No, conservative ship? What the hell does that mean?

BEHAR: I don`t know.

CANTONE: conservative what?

BEHAR: He says she should be -- she says he should be behind bars. About her father. She says he --

CANTONE: He should be behind bars. No question. You know, he`s the reason. It`s always the father.

BEHAR: It`s the father. OK. Speaking of that, what about --

CANTONE: And the mother leaves you in the dust.

BEHAR: The mother --

CANTONE: Then you become a comedian and it`s all horrible.

BEHAR: It`s never any good.

CANTONE: Look, if you want a close-up, look, it`s true. The Italians, we do have a little oil coming off of us.

BEHAR: Now, speaking of mothers --


BEHAR: -- what about -- what about Kate Gosselin?

CANTONE: Let me tell you something, Joy, I don`t care about Kate Gosselin or her ex-husband, Jon, and their 54 kids because I never watched the show. The first time I heard of these people was on the cover of a magazine. I don`t watch these reality shows. I don`t watch --

BEHAR: He thinks you`re hilarious. Jon Gosselin.

CANTONE: He does not, you`re a lying tramp. You always have been with that door knocker of a piece of amber around your cleavage. It looks like it`s going to fall in there - it looks like a volcano erupting. It`s like, oh, lava!

BEHAR: I don`t know -- I`ll put out an amber alert.

CANTONE: I know my nipples are missing. Look, all I know is that I don`t know -- I don`t care about him. I don`t care about him or her and it was very upsetting. You know I`m dedicated to the "View" and I was doing your show for years. The fact she was co-hosting is upsetting to me. Who is she? Where is he talent?

BEHAR: Ratings. Called ratings.

CANTONE: I have to lift up my right butt cheek and let some air out. That`s all I have to say. I`m released now.

BEHAR: What the hell are you talking about?

CANTONE: Don`t mind me.

BEHAR: All right let`s talk about what`s his name, Levi Johnston.

CANTONE: I love Levi Johnston because I know he`s a big homophobe. The more I say it, he`ll want come kill me with a hockey puck.

BEHAR: No he`s not.

CANTONE: Oh yes he is. I love you Levi -- I can`t wait to see you naked.


BEHAR: Does he realize mostly gays read that magazine?

CANTONE: That`s what`s hilarious. He`s going to have millions of homosexuals masturbating to him. That`s how retarded he is. The dames are going to love me. I`m sure he doesn`t say dames; no one says that since 1927.

BEHAR: What makes you think he doesn`t know?

CANTONE: He`s not an intelligent boy, obviously.

BEHAR: Do you believe him when he says Sarah Palin used to refer to the Down syndrome kid as her retarded kid? A little retarded kid. He said that she said that.

CANTONE: We, I believe everything Levi Johnston ever said.

BEHAR: I thought you just said he`s a moron.

CANTONE: He called me on the phone and said I`m doing this for you, Mario. I`m doing "playgirl" for you. Did she say that? I don`t know.

BEHAR: Why did he have to go report that anyway?

CANTONE: Because he`s a moron. With a hot pair of packs and a big one.

BEHAR: OK. Who else do we want to talk about? Let`s talk about you.



CANTONE: One of my favorite subjects. Me.

BEHAR: OK. What about you and Jerry getting married?

CANTONE: If it becomes legal in this country -- in this country? In this State. I`m from Massachusetts. I could go there. It`s not legal here. What`s the point? I`m going to go to Connecticut and buy a house in Grenich? I don`t want to do that. When It becomes legal here I will marry him.

BEHAR: Wait there was a time when you never believed in any kind of marriage, gay marriage or any -- what made you change your mind?

CANTONE: Because I`m older now.

BEHAR: Even though you look very youthful.

CANTONE: And -- what do you mean? I`m older now, I`m going to be 50 in December.

BEHAR: You don`t have to tell anybody.

CANTONE: Well everybody knows. You can go look in the internet -- once you lie you look like an ass because they can go look it up. Ding. Ding Ding. He`s 50. I`m going to be 50 in December.

BEHAR: I can`t believe you`re 50.

CANTONE: Once you celebrate it, once you do the reality show, write the book, or do a due wt album, you`re done. It`s over. You don`t celebrate the relationship. God forbid someone gets sick, something happens, and, you know, I`ve been with him for, like, 19 years. I mean, this is - this is it. As my mother would say, when she found out my father had another, you know, kid or he was cheating, where am I going to go? Where am I going to go?

BEHAR: My mother said the same thing.

CANTONE: Where am I going to go?

BEHAR: I said, how about around the corner? Louise`s house.

CANTONE: My mother, Liz -- Liz, why don`t you leave him? Where am I going to go? I have no place to go.

BEHAR: OK. We`ll have more with Mario Cantone after this.

CANTONE: This is the most fun I`ve had since I don`t know, The Clap.


BEHAR: I`m back with one of the men from "Sex and the City," Mario Cantone. I have some questions from the viewers. From.

CANTONE: From the viewers?


CANTONE: What would my fans like to know?

BEHAR: Here`s what that really baffles me. They say, are you gay?

CANTONE: That`s hilarious.


CANTONE: No, I love the vage -- love it. I just say this so I can get laid. I wish I was straight sometimes because chicks dig me.

BEHAR: Yes who would you date? That`s another question. If you were straight, who would you date?

CANTONE: I think -- I --

BEHAR: Samantha, what`s her name? Kim Cattrall that`s your girlfriend, right?

CANTONE: I know her. Like, someone, like, Alyssa Malano I think is a beautiful girl. Yeah, I --

BEHAR: OK. You would stick with your own kind, Italian, right?

CANTONE: Alyssa Malano - I`d throw her a few - one, two, three.

BEHAR: Now, this one says, I wonder how he learned to do Liza impersonations.

CANTONE: I learn to do Liza Minnelli when I sat with her and had a little dinner with her.

BEHAR: What does Liza think about -?

CANTONE: Like, everything is -- talk to me.

BEHAR: So, Liza --


BEHAR: Are you going to get married again?

CANTONE: So, I`m doing this musical and it`s so terrific. And it takes place in a -- it`s so hilarious. We`re singing and it`s rocking and everybody turns over. Pianos crush people. It`s terrific. I have a great number.

BEHAR: They want to know if you can do a Wendy Williams impression.

CANTONE: How you doing? No, I really can`t. But I did her show and I love her. She`s very - I had a lot of fun with her. She`s tall, though.

BEHAR: Very tall. She`s been on the show. She`s very great.


BEHAR: Who else do you want to do? Let`s do Betty Davis for a minute.

CANTONE: Let`s do the stages of Betty Davis. Because you know what I was watching this weekend, young Betty Davis, like a duck victory. She had a brain tumor in it. She was dying. She was so hyper. She was like, Ed, come quickly! They want to operate on my head. Look, head, I`m wearing a beanie. They`ve operated on my head. Ed! Ed! Quick. Be my best friend. When I die have champagne and be gay. Then she goes up the steps and she`s going to die and says. I don`t want anybody here. Here, doggy, here doggies. I`m going to die. Throws the dogs down the steps. And then she lays down and it blurs and she`s dead. Yes. So that`s the young Betty Davis.

BEHAR: When she got older and had a stroke. Poor thing.

CANTONE: The baby Jane phase which is, like, are you enjoying yourself? Yes, I am, Jane. Then you`re an idiot. You don`t eat your lunch; you don`t get any din-din. That`s that phase.

BEHAR: And then --

CANTONE: The stroke was the best. The best. She just kept going. She was like -- on the Oscars when she was like, and the winner is -- Paul Newman for "Hannah and His Sisters."

BEHAR: He wasn`t in that.

CANTONE: Exactly. He wasn`t in that. But, yes, it was "The Color of Money."

BEHAR: Betty Davis and Liza and Judy, those are all the gay icons.

CANTONE: They are.

BEHAR: Who are the new young gay icons?

CANTONE: It`s pathetic.

BEHAR: Madonna --

CANTONE: Madonna. She`s fine. It`s good.

BEHAR: Who else?

CANTONE: Then it goes downhill. Lady Ga Ga? Go out with that, because she looks like a -- what`s with the coconut donut around her head?

BEHAR: Thank you to Mario and my guests. Thanks for watching. Good night, everybody.

CANTONE: I`m not leaving this ship. This is the most fun ever.