Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Denis Leary; Interview With Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Aired December 23, 2010 - 21:00:00   ET


JOY BEHAR, HOST: The front page of "The New York Post" says that Jets coach, Rex Ryan, and his wife have a foot fetish. Look. There are lots of kinky people out there. You know what? I say, "To each his own." Merry Christmas, Rex.

All I want for Christmas is your two bare feet your two bare feet yes your two bare feet. All I want for Christmas are your two bare feet --

Denis Leary has quite the accomplished career as a comedian, an actor and author. But what I love most about him is that he`s a wise ass. Luckily for us he has taken to Twitter and given us his thoughts on what`s going on in the world. "Suck on This Year" is Leary`s latest book, a collection of his tweets from this years. He is also the founder of the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Easy for you to say, right?


BEHAR: The Leary Firefighters Foundation. Which by the way, let`s talk about that for a second.

LEARY: By the way, the book -- my portion of the proceeds of this book goes to the Leary Firefighters Foundation to help firefighters, you know.

BEHAR: That`s nice. That`s good.

LEARY: It`s just a little charity angle, you know.

BEHAR: I like that.

LEARY: So you can feel good while you`re laughing in the bathroom with this book.

BEHAR: Yes. It`s a bathroom book.

LEARY: It`s a bathroom book.

BEHAR: Definitely.

LEARY: I hate going to the bathroom to read something and it`s really small print and it`s like a real book. I don`t want that. I want like the newspaper or something funny that has big print.

BEHAR: What about the crossword puzzles?

LEARY: I don`t do those.


LEARY: It`s too much work. I want to relax. I want to laugh.

BEHAR: You have to think. It`s true.

LEARY: I don`t want to think. I want to see sports scores or laugh.

BEHAR: Ok. So now this 9/11 health bill passed. Aren`t you happy about it? Or are you not happy?

LEARY: I`m elated, extremely elated.


LEARY: They have dragged their feet about this thing forever. You don`t have to get me started about firefighters and about how under- appreciated they are. These -- I won`t say the word -- these morons who, you know, spent all this time going down to 9/11 to Ground Zero and afterwards hanging around with firefighters and getting their picture taken with firefighters -- ooh, firefighters, heroes. It`s not even ten years later and they tried to deny this bill.

BEHAR: Who are these people?

LEARY: Well, mostly Republicans.

BEHAR: I know. What is their problem?

LEARY: If it was Democrats I`d be saying the same thing about them.

BEHAR: Of course.

LEARY: Nobody at Ground Zero, when they arrived over the course of those three months which is one of the most amazing things. Forget about how amazing the firefighters were that day and what they did in giving, 343 of them giving their lives, but these people went down and cleaned that mess up in about three months` time. They did it basically out of -- because of their pride and caring and, you know, all great things. Right?

And for ten years, it was probably about three years afterwards they started to say we`re having some health problems. Ten years later they try to deny it and cut the bill in half.

BEHAR: Well, it was $7.4 billion but the Republicans complained so they got it down to $4.2 billion.

LEARY: So my math is off. I suck at math. Never said I was good at that. But it`s close to half.

BEHAR: Yes. Right. It`s close to half.

LEARY: So it`s unbelievable. I can`t believe that these guys tried to filibuster their way through it. I actually think what happened was Jon Stewart did that whole half hour about the issue and all of a sudden it`s passed like a week later. So Jon Stewart deserves credit. A comedian may have actually for-shamed them into doing something.

Look, we had two firefighters in Chicago.

BEHAR: You have to shame them. There`s no other way around that.

LEARY: Two firefighters died today.


LEARY: You don`t hear more about firefighters dying from day to day because they do their job so well. And they never go on strike. The reason that the guys on 9/11 were so high in numbers is because it was a terror attack on our country. The first line of response is firefighters.

BEHAR: Right.

LEARY: If we have another terror attack it`s going to be same thing and you`re going to deny these guys the benefits for what they do? It`s sickening. I have nothing funny about this.

BEHAR: You know what Denis? They`re not Wall Street bankers so they don`t care.

LEARY: Well, I`m just, you know. Politicians when it comes to stuff like this, it really makes me want to go to Washington and take a hostage.

BEHAR: Why are they interested -- try that. I wish you would.

LEARY: You know? Not Sarah Palin because she won`t show up.

BEHAR: No, that guy. That guy. Coburn -- that`s the one to take as a hostage. He`s the one.

LEARY: I`m so glad that this passed.

BEHAR: That Oklahoma guy. What is it to him? He`s in Oklahoma. We`re the ones who suffered in this city.

LEARY: but you know, it wasn`t just New York City firefighters. Firefighters came from across the country, steel workers from across the country, they were Americans. They weren`t Democrats and Republicans that day and afterwards --

BEHAR: Then they call themselves patriotic. It really makes me ill. Jon Stewart, you`re right. Good for him.

LEARY: Jon Stewart may have put this over the hump. I`m sure he`ll never take credit for it but it was out of the news. It was over, it was dead. And he does a half hour about it and all of a sudden that was all over the place and now it`s passed. So I`m really happy about it.

BEHAR: Speaking of comics I hear that you have this competitive thing with Conan O`Brien. What is that about?

LEARY: It`s the stupidest thing in the world. This is a long story. One of my Irish uncles, my uncle Jerry Leary who died a couple years ago was very big on family history and roots and everything. And my parents were illegal immigrants who came to this country in the `50s.

BEHAR: Wasn`t everybody that at some point?

LEARY: I know, everybody, all of us. Right. So he went home one time to Ireland and he came back and he had a little index card and he said, listen. I`ve been watching that kid who`s on -- he used to work nights. I`ve been watching that kid on channel 4 and I finally put my finger on it. It reminded me of somebody. Ends up we`re related to that kid.

And I`m going. Which kid is he talking about? You know? It was Conan. He wrote down the family history. Conan`s mother was a Doherty. Conan is from Worcester where I`m from. My father`s mother`s name was Doherty. So sure enough he`s like my fourth cousin.

Once I told Conan that, which to this day he denies.

BEHAR: Why does he deny it?

LEARY: I don`t blame him.

BEHAR: He doesn`t want to be associated with you.

LEARY: He doesn`t want to be associated with me. Not in a blood way. So I`m a stupid competitive guy and my wife said, you know, she started Twittering and said Conan is Twittering and he has like 19 million people and I thought, well, I`ve just got to do it because I want to see if I can be -- because he was pretty funny on Twitter.

BEHAR: 19 million? I don`t think so.

LEARY: He has a lot.

BEHAR: A lot -- 19 million he does not have.

LEARY: Well, I`m exaggerating slightly.

BEHAR: Ashton Kutcher doesn`t even have that.

LEARY: Well, let me say -- he must have like 3 million. Right.


LEARY: And I`ve got three. So, you know, it makes no sense. It makes no sense. But I did see his tweeting things and I thought, well that`s actually pretty funny. Nobody is interested in what I eat and what I wear. I wear the same thing.

BEHAR: No, but your tweets are funny.

LEARY: Yes, that`s what I wanted to do. I wanted to do funny stuff. I was getting ready for a tour. Then somewhere at the end of the summer I looked at some of the old tweets and I was like, wait a minute. These aren`t bad. They`re kind of evergreen.

And I`m trying to find ways to make more money for my charity and I thought, I like big, dumb books. All I read are sports books and books about war and assassinations. That`s it, right? So if somebody like assassinates a baseball player that`s my ultimate book. Right?

BEHAR: Why? What is it about assassination that intrigues you somewhere?

LEARY: I don`t know. I don`t know. Maybe there is a little sniper in me. I don`t know. But that`s -- I like funny books. I thought, if I can make a book that`s really funny and cheap and has a lot of pictures, and really big, like a joke a page.


LEARY: Who doesn`t want to read that?

BEHAR: That`s true.

LEARY: You can read it in 12 minutes.

BEHAR: It`s very simple.

LEARY: You know.

BEHAR: Let`s read one of those.

LEARY: If you`re dyslexic it`s like 18 minutes. I mean it`s really - - it`s a book for people who don`t want to read books.

BEHAR: "Lettuce recalled in 23 states. Experts fear it could affect up to five Americans.

Ok. Lebron -- this one is a poor Lebron.

LEARY: I love Lebron.

BEHAR: Poor guy. They really massacred -- talk about assassination of character.

LEARY: Yes. I know. But he went to Cleveland and he murdered them on the court.

BEHAR: It`s like get a life. These people who are saying he shouldn`t go.

LEARY: I know, really. He is supposed to stay in Cleveland for the rest of his life? Come on, guys. He is a one-man team. He scores 60 points a night and you want him to drive the team bus? He`s 25 years old. Where would you want to be? Hum, South Beach or downtown Cleveland.

BEHAR: I know. It`s true.

LEARY: How much snow outside 16 inches? Let me think. Are there any models out in the snow? No. Hum. I wonder where I should go.

BEHAR: You know, in the next segment I want to read some of your tweets.

LEARY: Sure.

BEHAR: But in this segment I have a couple of like pop culture things I want to ask you.

LEARY: Sure. I`m big on the pop culture --

BEHAR: You`re big on that right?

LEARY: I`m cutting edge on the pop culture.

BEHAR: What about this Lindsay Lohan thing who was allegedly pushing and confronting a technician at the Betty Ford Clinic?

LEARY: She is one of the great comedies of all time; she refuses to go away.

BEHAR: I know.

LEARY: She`s in rehab -- she has been in rehab for like six months. So I read the thing -- I saw the thing pop up on the news and I go wait a minute. What? Because it said that she was sneaking back in. You know what she did, right? Whenever she sneaks out, goes and drinks, sneaks back in, punches the guard. Now they`re saying she called her the C word.

I love Lindsay. You got to love her. They finally give her a breathalyzer to get back into the Betty Ford Center. She calls her a C and she punches her in the face. I love this girl.

BEHAR: But I mean -- there is something about the guard that`s not kosher. I don`t know what it is exactly.

LEARY: Well, the guard said (INAUDIBLE) but thank God she did because I`m going to get at least three or four tweets out of this.

BEHAR: Exactly, a lot of tweets.

LEARY: Lindsay reminds me of one of my cousins if they try to bring her into the Betty Ford Center. I grew up with a lot of girls like this. They throw the C word around and punch her in the face. I`m not going to rehab. Like, what`s her name, the singer -- Amy Winehouse.

BEHAR: Yes. Poor girl.

Now, what about Miley Cyrus smoking salvia on a bong?

LEARY: I have never -- I didn`t care about her. I really don`t know who she is. I don`t pay attention. But now --

BEHAR: She is a Disney star.

LEARY: Now when they caught her smoking the bong I love her. Now I really love her. By the way she is smoking this thing, I don`t know, called salvia. What is it? I don`t know what it is. I`m not up on my drugs. I should ask my kids.

BEHAR: It`s legal in some states.

LEARY: But what is it?

BEHAR: I don`t know. It`s a hallucinogen of some sort. If you see the video of her, she`s like -- talking in tongues.

LEARY: So, is it like -- is that like mushrooms?

BEHAR: Maybe. We don`t know.

LEARY: Anybody knows. Come on.

BEHAR: No one here has tried it.

LEARY: It`s an herb? I bet you it`s an herb. I love her, though.

BEHAR: Sit right there. We`ll be back with more with Denis Leary.

LEARY: Where am I going to go?

BEHAR: Or Denis Leary as he calls himself in France.

LEARY: Denis.

BEHAR: Denis Leary.



LEARY: There`s big bloom in Irish culture right now. I was at Barnes & Noble the other day and I saw a book entitled "Irish Cuisine" and I laughed my balls off. Ok? Irish cuisine?

You know what are we famous for cuisine-wise? We put everything in a pot and we boil it for 17 and-a-half-hours straight until you can eat it with a straw. Thanks, ma. Where`s dessert? Ok. Thanks, ma.


BEHAR: That was a look at Denis Leary from his classic stand up show "Lock and Load". And we`re back talking about his new book "Suck on This Year." How old were you there?

LEARY: That was `97 so that was 13 -- I`m so bad at math, 13 years ago?

BEHAR: Yes so how old are you now?

LEARY: So I was 40 in that, at that time. I`m 53.

BEHAR: Oh, boy. You look good though, Denis. You don`t look a day over 35.

LEARY: Come on.

BEHAR: Thirty-five.

LEARY: Come on. Really?

BEHAR: Come close. Let me check.

LEARY: No, I`m -- look at me.

BEHAR: No, no, well, you have a few lines. But that`s ok.

LEARY: Yes. I should have a few lines.

BEHAR: No, you look good.

LEARY: I like this age. It`s the best out of all the ages I`ve been.


LEARY: I don`t know. Because I`m -- I`m -- my kids are gone.


BEHAR: Where are they?

LEARY: So my wife and I just have free rein.


BEHAR: Are they runaways -- where are they?

LEARY: They went to college. And we just took over. And we`re like just two days of mourning and then we were like, hey, we can do whatever the hell we want. And now we walk around naked, we took one room and we turned it into an office for my wife, the other one we have like a wet bar and a Ping-Pong table.

They were like shocked. They came home for Thanksgiving, and they were like what happened to my room?

And I was like, hey. You took off. I`m paying $50,000 a year for you to have a room at that school.

BEHAR: So no empty nest syndrome for you.

LEARY: And it was like two days.



LEARY: It was two days and then we just went crazy.

BEHAR: $50,000 a year?

LEARY: That`s how much college is now.

BEHAR: What school are they going to? Well, you don`t have to tell me.

LEARY: It doesn`t matter. It`s private school, right? And here`s the thing --


BEHAR: Where did you go to school?

LEARY: I went to Emerson College of Boston --


LEARY: -- which my son goes to but I went on scholarship which is amazing.

BEHAR: You know where I went at, I went to Queens College. It was $24 a term when I went. That`s how old I am.

LEARY: Well, that`s like UMass was like a $100 a year for -- for people when they went.

BEHAR: Right.

LEARY: Lenny Clark went there.


LEARY: Lenny Clark went to UMass which I`m sure they don`t want me saying out loud. But -- but it was like --


BEHAR: For those of you who don`t know Lenny Clark --


LEARY: -- Lenny was going to school and it cost him $200 a year.


LEARY: And -- and like -- I just, now my kids are like, yes. I need money for books. It`s like, what are you talking about? What about the $50,000? It only covers the tuition and the room.

BEHAR: And the room -- the room and board and tuition.

LEARY: You have to get the food and the books is extra.

BEHAR: But that used to be $20,000 just about ten years ago.

LEARY: I know, it`s -- it`s unbelievable.

BEHAR: Well, how do people know --


LEARY: How -- how people in the middle class and working class put their kids through school I`m telling you it`s --


BEHAR: I don`t know.

LEARY: -- you know and again, I don`t want to get into, you know, blaming people. But it`s just like --


BEHAR: Get into it.

LEARY: Listen, I came from the working class. You have to help these people out financially.

BEHAR: I know.

LEARY: Otherwise we end up like right now, there`s one in four kids are too fat to be in the military. They didn`t release the figures on how many kids are too stupid to be in the military but, you know, we`re in trouble here. We`re like 67th on the math list and we`re like 47th on the science list and number one in fat kids.

BEHAR: What did you think of Sarah Palin -- Sarah Palin saying that Michelle Obama should speak quiet about telling kids what to eat?

LEARY: You know, I -- here`s what I would say to Sarah Palin. And Sarah Palin is a very attractive woman. Stay in Alaska, shoot as many animals as you want and get as fat as you want.

But you know we got to stop some of these kids, we`ve got to educate them. Not -- not about food. We`ve got to keep them from eating what they want to eat and we got to -- we go to educate them.

Otherwise I don`t know where we`re going to end up. Right now it`s not looking good.

BEHAR: No it`s not.

LEARY: You know, I mean, some of these linemen even in the NFL, I`m like, guys really, you`re a football player? I don`t think so. You see the bellies on some of these linemen? It`s not steroids. It`s fried chicken. I`m telling you right now. Steroids is not the problem in the football.

So --

BEHAR: All right. So let`s go to some of your tweets.

LEARY: Sure.

BEHAR: Here is one, page four in your book. Laura Bush says she and president poisoned during a meal in 2007. And then you say, well you eat enough (EXPLETIVE DELETED) there is bound to be something bad in it.

LEARY: That was one of my favorites.

BEHAR: Ok, so do you miss George Bush being in office because I do. Do you know that I stopped doing stand up when he was out of office? I haven`t done stand up --


LEARY: Really?

BEHAR: -- in such a long, I don`t want to do it right now until some idiot comes back.

LEARY: I`ve got to be honest with you, I thought I would miss him more than I did because Sarah Palin has become so -- so media savvy and so all over the place that it -- I kind of forgot about George Bush --


BEHAR: I see.

LEARY: -- until he came back on the decision tour you know and then he reminded us of some of the --


BEHAR: Well, his book is a total white wash.

LEARY: The guy is -- he`s unbelievable. You`ve got to give him credit. You really have to give him credit.


LEARY: He still has this -- this crazy swagger confidence thing going while -- while sitting there interviewed by Matt Lauer I think and he said you know, the -- the mission impossible or something -- yes, huge mistake. Huge mistake.


LEARY: And that`s it. The biggest thing that -- his biggest regret is Kanye West calling him a racist.

BEHAR: I know.

LEARY: I mean, really?

BEHAR: I know.

LEARY: After eight years. That was the one thing.


BEHAR: Do you think that --

LEARY: A hip hop guy called you a racist. And that`s what you remember?

BEHAR: I know.

LEARY: Ok, not Katrina.


BEHAR: No. Katrina -- he had no regrets about Katrina.

LEARY: It`s not -- not the two wars that you got us involved in.

BEHAR: No, right.

LEARY: Kanye West, I`m going to kill him if I see him. This is -- this is his regret.

BEHAR: Do you think that he is so swaggerish and so confident because he was born rich?

LEARY: Well, I don`t know. I can`t answer that question. But he does -- he`s -- you`ve got to hand it to him. He`s got that sort of frat boy thing of like, yes. I`m the decider. And I decide and then it`s over. He sounded like he doesn`t remember it.

BEHAR: Well, we could use a little more of that in Obama, more of I`m the decider. But he`s getting a lot done quite quiet, he`s getting all these bills passed. "Don`t ask, don`t tell" just got passed. The 9/11 bill --


LEARY: I`m not going to say anything about -- about President Obama - -

BEHAR: -- financial reform, the health care bill got passed. I mean, he did a lot so far.

LEARY: And he needs to get a little bit more of the decider in him but you know --


BEHAR: But he has been --


LEARY: -- my main thing is --


LEARY: -- this job is -- is a difficult job. Also you represent the country. It`s very important to me that we have a guy that represents us in terms of not, you know, mixing up words when he is on the podium.

Even when he was on the tour, the -- the -- the decision points tour - -



LEARY: -- there was a couple times where you`re like, George, what did you just say?

BEHAR: I know.

LEARY: He`s not a public speaker.


LEARY: God love him.


BEHAR: No. His gaffes were on calendars everywhere.

LEARY: He`s unbelievable.

BEHAR: Ok, let`s stay with the theme, then on your tweeting.


BEHAR: The next one is about former Vice President Cheney out of intensive care and in great form plans to resume fishing, shooting people in the face, and pillaging the earth ASAP.

Now, that`s one guy I do not miss.

LEARY: Dick Cheney? He was good for some comedy though.

BEHAR: He is Dr. Evil.


LEMON: I`ve got to go. I`ve got a lot out of him in the book --


BEHAR: What?

LEARY: I got a lot out of him in the book, because he is still having those heart things so every time he has a heart thing there`s always a little --

BEHAR: A little scare. Yes.

LEARY: Some comedy in there.

BEHAR: A little comedy.

LEARY: A little comedy -- a little comedy.

BEHAR: So you know, I noticed that you mostly take on Republicans. Do you get any flack for that, any pushback from the Republicans?


LEARY: No, I don`t really. I mean, I think there`s a couple of Obama things in there, too. I mean, I just pick -- I don`t, my thing is like what is the -- like I don`t pick on Lindsay Lohan. And she just happens to do a lot of stupid things.


LEARY: If you`re a comedian you`re like, you know what I mean?

BEHAR: I know, I know.

LEARY: If you know, if I can`t think of a famous Democrat right now besides the President. But if --

BEHAR: Clinton. Bill Clinton.

LEARY: Oh, yes. There`s a couple of Bill Clinton ones in there too.

BEHAR: Well, that sex scandal was grist for the mill for years.

LEARY: Yes that was fantastic.

BEHAR: And you can even bring it back and you put it under the headline of history. It`s fabulous.

LEARY: Yes it really is you know, you got to love these guys when they do that stuff.

BEHAR: Ok, here is one about Mel Gibson. "Elena Kagan would become third Jewish Supreme Court justice. May mean nothing to you but its killing Mel Gibson." That`s good. Do you think his career is done? Mel Gibson.

LEARY: You know what, I think -- first of all, I think there are a couple of things here. We`re missing -- you know in those recorded phone calls, those did not all happen in one day.

What`s the missing link? We don`t get what set the thing off, all right?

BEHAR: Right.

LEARY: I`m not saying that Mel didn`t sound crazy but my first question is, what did she do that set him off that particular day?

BEHAR: That is -- I don`t -- do not go there.

LEARY: Ok. I`m just saying. Something had to set him off.

BEHAR: Do not go there.

LEARY: Number one. Number two he is a really talented guy. I mean he`s a great actor and a great director.

BEHAR: So what? A lot of people are.

LEARY: I`m just telling you.


LEARY: So when people say his career is over, Robert Downey Jr. was in jail about 12 years ago --

BEHAR: Robert Downey is a sweet guy.

LEARY: Then his career was over. And he crawled into a teenage girl`s bed from the beach in Malibu because he was so out of it he thought he was in his own house. Now look at him.

BEHAR: That`s different.

LEARY: No it`s not. It`s the same thing. Second chance.

BEHAR: I got to go.

LEARY: Everybody deserves a second chance.

BEHAR: But he is getting a third and fourth chance, Mel Gibson.

LEARY: I wouldn`t write him off.

BEHAR: We`ll have more with Denis Leary on the way. Yes, I would.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s cut to the chase. We had sex and then I wake up this morning to this so I can only assume that it means we are starting over.

LEARY: A re-commitment.


BEHAR: That was Denis Leary playing Tommy Gavin in the hit FX show "Rescue Me" which is coming back for its final season next summer. Are you going to miss playing that character?

LEARY: Just watching that clip I really miss playing the guy. There is a lot of dark stuff on that show that it`s hard to write and it`s hard to play but there`s a lot of comic stuff especially in the marriage with his wife that`s just a lot of fun to play. Scenes like that where he can`t get himself to say the word "commitment".

BEHAR: Well, he`s a complicated guy. He`s not --

LEARY: Yes. I love the actors on that show. They were great to write for. Some of them were so fantastic and they would improvise and make our stuff better and every day was very exciting with those actors. I really miss that.

I mean I`m on this movie Spider-Man -- Spider-Man 4 or whatever and it is a lot of fun but it`s a big thing and it`s very slow. "Rescue Me" was very fast; it was a lot of fun. I`m going to miss it when it`s over.

BEHAR: You like acting better than stand-up.

LEARY: No. Stand up is the greatest thing in the world. You try to explain that to people.

BEHAR: You can`t.

LEARY: It`s the greatest thing in the world.

BEHAR: Do you puke before a show?

LEARY: No. I get like boxing or sports butterflies like I get a little nervous right before we go out which is good and then as soon as I get that first laugh I`m in.

BEHAR: Right. Me too. That`s the truth.

LEARY: I love it. I really love it.

BEHAR: But the anxiety before-hand is really difficult.

LEARY: I just really love it.

BEHAR: Here are some tweets from your fans out there. What would you be doing if you weren`t an actor/comedian?

LEARY: I don`t know. I mean driving a truck probably. I wasn`t qualified. I really wasn`t.

My brother is a teamster so I`d probably be a teamster.

BEHAR: Ok. That`s good. My father was a teamster.


BEHAR: Who is your favorite comedian? You don`t have to answer.

LEARY: Of all time? Richard Pryor. He`s my favorite.

BEHAR: Richard Pryor. Who do you consider -- are you and Louie C.K. friends?

LEARY: Yes, we are, actually.

BEHAR: Who wrote this, Louie C.K.?

LEARY: Louie wrote in. He wasn`t -- I tell you something, his show was on after my show called "Louie", his half hour show.

BEHAR: Yes. It was funny too.

LEARY: It`s a brilliant show and he is a brilliant comedian. We had a couple speed bumps in the past. I love that kid. I think he`s great.

BEHAR: Do you still smoke and why?

LEARY: I know. I do. But I don`t smoke anywhere near as much as I used to and at this point it really is just -- it`s like --

BEHAR: You`re 53. Your lungs are done, baby.

LEARY: I got to quit. I got to quit.

BEHAR: Ok. Do you like Christmas?

LEARY: I love Christmas.

BEHAR: Yes. Is it your favorite holiday?

LEARY: It`s my favorite holiday, yes. Because the kids come home.

BEHAR: More than Simchat Torah?

LEARY: What the hell is Simchat Torah?

BEHAR: Whatever.

LEARY: What is Simchat Torah?

BEHAR: It`s a Jewish holiday.

LEARY: How did I not know that? I mean with all these Jewish friends I have. When is Simchat Torah?

BEHAR: I don`t know when it is. I just think it`s funny -- it`s funny to say.

LEARY: I love that. Simchat Torah.

I can`t believe Jon Stewart or Adam Roth or somebody didn`t tell me about this before.

BEHAR: Well, they pretend. They have like --

LEARY: They`re pretend Jews.

BEHAR: They`re pretend Jews.

LEARY: They really are.

BEHAR: I`m a fake Jew. What are you going to do?


BEHAR: What are you doing for Christmas?

LEARY: Save 9/11.

BEHAR: Save 9/11. What are you doing for Christmas?

LEARY: Usually we just -- which is the same thing this year -- my crazy Irish family comes to my house and there`s a lot of fun and a lot of yelling and screaming and fighting and old feuds re-erupt. It`s great, very exciting.

BEHAR: Ok. I have to ask you. We have no time left. What is the secret to being married for 21 years, not living in Hollywood?

LEARY: We`ve been together for 28.

BEHAR: Just give me the secret.

LEARY: Well, it`s not living in Hollywood. I don`t know. I`ve never really lived there. She is really funny. She is beautiful.

BEHAR: She is funny and beautiful.

LEARY: She`s really funny. That`s exactly right.

BEHAR: Ok. This book is called "Suck on This Year". We`ll be right back.


BEHAR: Sports website Deadspin has posted foot fetish videos of someone that sounds a lot like New York Jets coach, Rex Ryan and someone that looks a lot like his wife. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no car trouble or anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, none at all. I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You don`t have to put your feet in. You can leave them out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, are you sure?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. In fact, you have really beautiful feet. You mind if I touch them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I take very good care of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you do. I can touch them?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. They`re really soft.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re like really soft.


BEHAR: It`s like a psycho drama for podiatrists.


BEHAR: With me now to talk about this and other stories in the news are comedian, Rich Vos, Sarah Bernard of "The Thread" on Yahoo! and Debra Opri, family law attorney. First of all, can I just say those are not attractive feet?



SARAH BERNARD, HOST OF "THE THREAD," YAHOO!: We`re not seeing them from the right side, unfortunately

BEHAR: My feet on both sides look stunning. Just saying.

BERNARD: I think we have to get you up on YouTube.

BEHAR: My feet are so stunning. Bette Midler has beautiful feet. She said one time they`re so gorgeous I want to put them on my face.


BEHAR: That`s who should be in that video, not these.

OPRI: Well, you can do something. You can post online. Look. Look at my beautiful feet.

BEHAR: I don`t want one of those fetishes to come out.

RICH VOS, COMEDIAN: My left toe is dead. It doesn`t move at all on this foot, but the reason Rex Ryan is into feet is because he hasn`t seen his since 1987.


OPRI: I know.


BEHAR: Oh, yes.

VOS: That`s the one that makes you go oh?

BEHAR: He`s a big boy. But, you know, between first, you had Brett Favre sending pictures of his penis and now this. What is it with the Jets? I don`t know. They`re football, right?

VOS: Yes.


BEHAR: So, what`s it with that team, Sarah?

BERNARD: Well, it was more than that. Then it was (INAUDIBLE). Remember, we were here talking about the Mexican TV anchor who was possibly harassed by some people in the locker room?

BEHAR: Yes. That`s the Jets also.

BERNARD: That was the jets. And then, also a couple of weeks ago, one of their coaches or two weeks ago, one of their coaches was actually suspended for tripping a player on the Miami Dolphins. I have to say, guys I know are really upset about this. This is the most fascinating Jets season to me. I love it.

BEHAR: Me too. You know what, I hate sports, anyway, but this is interesting to me.

BERNARD: This is fascinating.

OPRI: This is what they`re doing to get the public interested in sports on all levels. They`re going sex. I mean, this is a celebrity driven crazy world. Didn`t you ever question, Joy, why not a sports figure saying, let`s have sex. Let`s put your feet out there. The next thing you know, we`re going to have sex tapes.

BERNARD: Yes, but this is totally not the same thing as all those other things. He`s married to this woman. They were agreeing to do this. He`s not cheating on anybody. It`s just a little embarrassing.

OPRI: Until the next therapy.

VOS: He is the coach, OK? And second of all, whoever was interviewing him, this is about football. Why are you bringing in his personal foot fetishes? It has nothing to do with it. If the Jets win the Super Bowl, no one cares if he has a hundred feet in his basement, OK? You know what I`m saying? They don`t care if he has seven hands.


BEHAR: You might be loitering (ph) shoe stores, Manolo Blahnik, you never know.

OPRI: Joy, it filled out the job (ph). He put his foot in his mouth. He`ll put any woman`s foot in his mouth.



BEHAR: That was a good one. All right. Let`s move on. Oprah Winfrey told "Parade" magazine that Sarah Palin is quote-unquote "charming" and quote-unquote "|very likeable." But when asked if she worried about Palin`s potential presidential run in 2012 she said, quote, "It does not scare me because I believe in the intelligence of the American public." Easy for her to say. She`s so rich she can buy her own country and move there. What about the rest of us?

VOS: Well, very intelligent. Half the country is watching "Dancing with the Stars" and the other half can`t spell "intelligent," OK? Nothing on that one. What I`m saying is it`s not really the most intelligent country in the planet

BEHAR: Look, it`s not a stupid country. They`re not that stupid.

VOS: No, but she`s trashing these people because she is going off the air. She never trashed people, and all of a sudden, she`s going off the air.

BERNARD: I don`t think she`s trashing her.

OPRI: She is trashing her. She`s telling everyone the American people are smart enough. What she`s really saying is you poor dumb bleep, bleep, bleep. You had Sarah Palin two steps from the White House. Now, I have my own network. I don`t want to step on Sarah`s toes. I may get her for her own show.

BEHAR: But I mean, what she`s really saying is the American people are not dumb enough to put her in there which means that she is dumb. I think she`s --

BERNARD: I think she`s trying to be very careful about it. Remember when Barbara Walters asked her the same question or asked her for her opinion, she said I`m not going to answer it.


BERNARD: Because she knew that whatever she said was going to be controversial.

BEHAR: So then, why is she saying it then?

BERNARD: I think maybe, I don`t know. Maybe, they got her guard down. But you have to be very careful when you insult Sarah Palin because, unfortunately, the reverse effect happens. She gets more popular.

BEHAR: That`s true.

OPRI: It`s subliminal.


OPRI: It`s all subliminal. It`s you`re not really stupid.


BEHAR: But you`re saying she gets more popular, but who is more popular than Oprah Winfrey?


VOS: You`re sitting next to him.

OPRI: Live your best life in Alaska.

BEHAR: All right. But, you know, I think that maybe she`s letting her guard down, Oprah, because she`s off of network TV this year.

BERNARD: And she can say what she wants to say. She is so rich.

OPRI: Joy, you`re going to hate me. I love Oprah. I like Sarah Palin. Anyone who can have more than 15 minutes of fame and have people liking it, they`re doing a good job.

BEHAR: Well, you don`t have to like her just because she`s good at it.

OPRI: Oprah Winfrey is selling a good brand.

BEHAR: I`m not talking about Oprah. I`m talking about Sarah. I like Oprah, too.

OPRI: Sarah Palin is selling a good brand.

BEHAR: Well, that means you like her?

OPRI: I love America.


OPRI: I respect her. I respect her. She`s come a long way from mayor of Wasilla.

BEHAR: Half mayor, half whatever she was, governor.

OPRI: Now, you`re going to say a half wit?

BEHAR: She`s a half governor. All right. Good. You have other things to say?


BEHAR: OK. So, let`s do another story. Dustin Hoffman`s new movie "Little Fockers" is all about the difficulties in relationships, and he`s using the opportunity to extol the virtues of arranged marriage. He says, and this is -- "there is nothing more unnatural than family or marriage. That`s why they`re both so difficult. Arranged marriages I think make a lot of sense because you`re not under the pressure of being in love. It`s an easy contract. You don`t have to like each other. And then, whatever happens, happens."

VOS: First of all, it`s so --


BEHAR: On a scale of one to Rex Ryan`s foot fetish, how unnatural is marriage?

VOS: Well, my parents couldn`t pick out a good suit for my bar mitzvah, OK?

BEHAR: Why? They`re that bad?

VOS: Yes. Who wants parents, like, to pick your -- you want to advance past their social status. So if they`re going to arrange a marriage --


VOS: You can only get to the level of where they`re at, you know? I`m going to end up with some girl whose dreams are to work at flea market in Bergen County? You know what I mean? I`m not going to be able to meet a rich girl.

BERNARD: So, you`re against arranged marriage?

VOS: Yes. I want to have these fans (ph) to go on my own and meet somebody.

BERNARD: But I love the fact that Dustin Hoffman is saying this. All of our celebrities are breaking up totally right before the New Year. Meanwhile, he is supposed to be the one for marriage. This is one of the happily married Hollywood celebrities.

BEHAR: Yes. He`s married a long time.

BERNARD: Twenty something years.

BEHAR: Yes, 30 years.

BERNARD: And here he is with Owen Wilson who obviously has a more colorful life and romantic history, and he is saying that marriage, you know --

OPRI: Joy, joy, it`s the graduate meets Yentl. It`s Dustin is the graduate going to Yentl. It`s, hey, --

BEHAR: What do you mean?

OPRI: He`s best known for "The Graduate."


OPRI: The "Yentl" was the match maker. Let`s have an arranged marriage.

BEHAR: Oh, I see. I thought Yentl was Barbara Streisand.

BERNARD: What does Barbara have to do with this?

OPRI: Hey, the whole bottom line is when the graduate meets the Yentl, he`s never going to put out an attorney out of business. Attorneys will always be in business.

BEHAR: Would you like an arranged marriage?

OPRI: I think they worked for hundreds of years. And I think they`re going to come back.

BERNARD: No, nightmare. Terrible. Everyone should have the right to get married and then divorced.

OPRI: It`s going to be an arranged marriage.

BERNARD: Yes or fall in love.

VOS: Yes, and falling out, here. Arranged marriages, if you saw "Eat, Pray, and Love" which is one of my favorite movies of all time --

BERNARD: What? Are you kidding?


VOS: Did you see the arranged marriage? How depressed she was throughout the movie?

OPRI: As a lawyer --

BERNARD: I just like the fact that you`ve watched "Eat, Pray, Love."

OPRI: As a lawyer, it`s another reason to write a contract. Come on. Come on.

BEHAR: What was depressing, and why was she depressed?

VOS: Hindu girl, Hindu, India, whatever, was getting married to somebody that her family put her --

BEHAR: Oh, so, Julia Roberts was upset?

VOS: No. Julia`s helped her along -- I don`t know. It was on a plane.


OPRI: Well, I read the book. I saw the movie. And I think there`s a lot to be said for arranged marriage with affection.

BERNARD: You don`t get that.

BEHAR: I don`t want anybody telling me --

OPRI: The internet -- look,

BEHAR: Let`s not forget Dustin and the rest of you who believe that you still have to sleep with the person. So, they could send you some, you know, this guy, Rex Ryan, for all I know. He`s perfect for you.

BERNARD: It`s called a blind date.


BEHAR: He likes shoes. It`s perfect. That`s an arrangement.

OPRI: That`s called meeting Mr. Goodbar.

VOS: If my wife wants to arrange another female, that`s OK. Let her -- nothing --


BEHAR: OK. Thank you, guys. I`m done. Catch Rich Vos at Mohegan Sun on New Year`s Eve, not Bergen County.


BEHAR: Back after a short break.


BEHAR: We keep hearing about this lame duck session of Congress, but there`s one senator who`s anything but lame (ph). In fact, she`s had a great week on behalf of the American people. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was not only instrumental in the repeal of "don`t ask, don`t tell," she was a driving force behind the passing of the 9/11 first responders bill yesterday, and somehow, she still has the time and the strength to come on my show, and I`m thrilled to have her here. Welcome to the show, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.


BEHAR: Thank you for doing this. And I`m the only show you`re doing?


BEHAR: I love that.


BEHAR: OK. I`m an only child, you know, so this really appeals to me.


BEHAR: Yes. Now, congratulations on getting the 9/11 bill passed. And you said it was a Christmas miracle. Did you think it wouldn`t happen?

GILLIBRAND: Well, you know, this is something we`ve been working on for nine years, and it took so much to bring it to this point. And it`s a difficult -- it was a difficult journey. Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Peter King in the House wrote a bill. It went through 21 committee hearings. It went through two committees of jurisdiction. It was really worked hard on, but we never seemed to get it over the finish line.

And so, I took up the bill a year and a half ago on the Senate side and worked very hard with Senator Schumer and my colleagues, Harry Reid, and the whole Democratic caucus. We worked so hard, and we are finally at the 11th hour able to bring some Republicans to stand with us to do a final compromise and pass the bill, and we passed it, the last vote of the session with unanimous consent. And that`s really, you know, when the American people say we`re tired of Washington, we`re tired of how broken it is, this is what they`re asking for.

They want us to come together, get the hard work done, and do the business of the American people. And that`s why I was hoping that we would have that goodwill to bring people together, and that`s exactly what happened.

BEHAR: And also, it wasn`t just a woman who really did a lot of the work, yourself, and then, you brought in the women Republicans, Olympia Snowe.

GILLIBRAND: Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski. They stood with us the whole time and so did Mark Kirk from Illinois. So, we had our votes. We had the votes we needed to pass it. It was just a question of time. And because of our opponents, they were not going to let us have an up or down vote before the break, and that was the problem. So, we brought in our other colleagues, our Republican colleagues, Senator Enzi, and we brought in Senator Coburn and we talked to them and Senator Schumer and I asked them, what do you need to pass this bill?

And we listened, and we worked it out, and now, we have a stronger bill, a better bill, and one that will really deliver for these first responders, and it`s good for five years. It has the victims` compensation fund so if someone is widowed because their husband who worked on the pile for weeks and months is dying because of cancer, she will not be left in bankruptcy. She will be able to provide for her children. There`s health care.

BEHAR: What took it so long? I mean, it seems like an open-and-shut case. These people really risked their lives and their health for the benefit of the American people.

GILLIBRAND: It should never have taken nine years. Nine years is too long for these heroes. It`s outrageous and too long for these heroes to wait. These are the men and women who literally raced up those towers when everyone was coming down. They`re the ones who stayed Christmas Day looking for remains. They`re the ones who were there --

BEHAR: Why? Why did it take so long? Did it languish under the Bush administration?

GILLIBRAND: It did. President Bush was not something he was willing to put forward under his administration.

BEHAR: Why? Why not?

GILLIBRAND: I don`t know. But what I know is that the House and the Senate have been working tirelessly over the last few years to just move it to this far, and we finally had our final vote in the Senate. We passed it. We`re back to the House. They passed it immediately. And now, we have $4.3 billion for the health care of these heroes and for the costs for compensation.

BEHAR: Are you happy with the amount?

GILLIBRAND: It`s great. It`s five years, and it`s a full program, and what we can do at the end of that five years is go back and advocate for more funds because what we can do now with this new program is show that it`s efficient, it`s effective. The money is getting delivered to whom it`s supposed to go. We`ll show that there`s no fraud, there`s no problems in the program. And when we demonstrate that, we can then go back for more funds should they need it, should there be more health care costs or more compensation.

BEHAR: You know what, just listening to you, I can see why you`re such a fire cracker. You were relentless on this bill and on "don`t ask, don`t tell". And what did you do? They`re saying in the "New York Times" that you basically were harassing other people.

GILLIBRAND: No, I was just asking them nicely.


GILLIBRAND: Many times. I would typically just go to my colleague and say, so, have you had a chance to look at the bill yet? Have you looked at the new paper? What do you think? And worked through them. Because these are all public servants. They are there to represent their states, and sometimes, it just takes the real urgency of the moment to bring people together and that`s exactly what happened.

But I have to say a word about who really made the difference. It was the advocates and the first responders and the families who came to Washington week after week, day after day to lobby these senators. They went to every Senate office to talk to Democrats, Republicans, about why this bill mattered to them and what diseases they were suffering from. I mean, these men and women are literally dying of cancer, terrible cancers in their esophagus, in their lungs, in their digestive tract.

They are the people who literally gave everything. They answered the call of duty when we asked them.


GILLIBRAND: There`s no reason they shouldn`t have the health care they need. And it was their passion and drive. John Field, one of our first responders, organized a group over the last few years and went there every single time, week after week when we needed them.

BEHAR: And it looked as though Jon Stewart, a comedian, put it over the top with his coverage (ph).

GILLIBRAND: Jon was an extraordinary advocate, and he used his position as a world renowned figure to put focus on this issue and that, plus a lot of our newspapers in New York, really just did not stop advocating on behalf of the American people.

BEHAR: Right.

GILLIBRAND: And that`s what our Democracy is all about. Our democracy is based on the principle that it starts at the grass roots. It`s the men and women of our country who, when their voices are heard, can truly move mountains. And that`s what this was about. It was nine years of advocacy, culminating just at this holiday season, and that`s why I was asking for a Christmas miracle because it is the will of these people finally shining through that made this happen.

BEHAR: And look at all the things that have been passed in the past few weeks under Obama. I mean, people wrote him off, the left and the right, and he came back victorious. They wrote you off in a certain way when you first took office, am I right? I mean the "New York Times" says that you were derided as an accidental senator and lampooned for your verbosity and threatened with many challengers who openly doubted your ability. Well, they`re changing their tune now, honey. They are changing their tune about you and President Obama.

GILLIBRAND: Well, I just feel so privileged to have the opportunity to serve and to be an advocate for New Yorkers, and you know, over these last few weeks, it really has been exciting, Joy. And one issue that I know you`re passionate about as am I is the repeal of "don`t ask, don`t tell."

BEHAR: It was very important. That seemed to me the most un-American thing.

GILLIBRAND: I mean, literally, you`re telling men and women who want nothing but to die for this country --


GILLIBRAND: To serve this country that you can`t base on who you love.

BEHAR: It`s outrageous.

GILLIBRAND: I mean, can you think of a more corrosive, discriminatory policy?

BEHAR: And losing Arabic translators because they were gay, it`s just really --

GILLIBRAND: It`s absurd. I mean, that`s why I really saw this as a national security issue because of this policy, we lost 13,000 personnel and countless others who didn`t join. We lost 10 percent of our foreign language speakers in languages like Farsi and Arabic which we desperately need.

BEHAR: Right.

GILLIBRAND: We lost almost a thousand in mission critical areas that can`t easily --

BEHAR: Will we get them all back now?

GILLIBRAND: Yes. I can tell you. I was at the president`s signing ceremony, and there were men and women in the crowd who said I`m signing up tomorrow. I mean, they cannot wait to serve this country.

BEHAR: That`s great.

GILLIBRAND: And that`s why it`s about military readiness. It`s about our national strength. It`s about national security. And fundamentally, it goes to the integrity of our whole country.


GILLIBRAND: And who we are as a nation.

BEHAR: It does. I have to stop you because we`re out of time, but I must tell you, we thank you very much for your service. We really do.

GILLIBRAND: Well, it`s my privilege.

BEHAR: We`re proud of you. We`re proud of you as a New Yorker and as an American.

GILLIBRAND: Well, thank you, Joy.

BEHAR: Thank you so much, Kirsten, really.

GILLIBRAND: Thank you.

BEHAR: You`re wonderful. And we`ll be back in a minute.


BEHAR: President Obama rounded out the year with a slew of legislative successes, the tax deal, the repeal of "don`t ask don`t tell," a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and the passage of the First Responders and Food Safety Bill before heading off to Hawaii. The president took some time out to talk about all of this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it`s fair to say that this has been the most productive post-election period we`ve had in decades. And it comes on the heels of the most productive two years that we`ve had in generations.


BEHAR: With me now to discuss this is David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser. David, is this Obama`s way of saying, stick it where the sun don`t shine?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi there, Joy. Well, I have to tell you, you know, there are a lot of Republicans in this country who thought that seven weeks ago, hey, they won the election.

BEHAR: I know.

GERGEN: And here, what the heck happened? You know, as President Obama goes out with all the smiles at the end of this lame duck session. I do think it was one of the most productive lame duck sessions in history, far better than anybody would have expected. As to his claim about the most productive two years, well, that`s a matter of dispute. The liberals, the Democratic Party will tell you, we got the more legislation passed than anybody else since Lyndon Johnson.

And the conservatives will come back and tell you, yes, it`s the most expensive, you damned near bankrupted the country in the process. So, how you think about these last two years depends a lot on where you sit.

BEHAR: I know, but can`t the answer to the Republicans be, well, then we should have cut the taxes? We should not have extended the tax cuts for the very wealthy in the country and then we wouldn`t have such a problem? No?

GERGEN: Well, that was a hard call for the president. I`m very sympathetic. I think he had no choice but to do what he did and, you know, the truth is most economists think that bill, when you look at it in totality is going to help growth. And we need that now. The numbers that just came in yesterday on growth, you know, frankly were a little disappointing.

We thought we`d get 3 percent growth, and it was only 2.6 percent. So, we`ve got a long, long way to go. And this presidency is only half way. This was an important chapter, but it`s a long book.

BEHAR: OK. Let me show you something that David Letterman said last night, then I want to ask you a question.


BEHAR: Watch.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Think about it. President Obama is on fire. He`s got the tax cut deal, "don`t ask don`t tell," yes.


LETTERMAN: The arms treaty. I`m telling you, this guy could be the most successful one-term president in history.


BEHAR: He`s being ironic, I think, but do you think that Obama will be a one-term president?

GERGEN: Look, I thought that after the November elections, unless, he got himself back on track and got the economy on track, he could be a one- term president. This lame duck, I think, you`re right. It`s not so lame. We`ll take the word lame out of this.

BEHAR: Right.

GERGEN: What we got here is a president who`s back with a long, long way to go. He`s got himself back, politically. Whether he can get this economy back on track is still a very tough question and whether he can work with Republicans, a swollen Republican majority next year, is still a big question. But, you know, the important thing is, from his point of view, instead of being on his back going into 2011, he`s back on his feet.

BEHAR: That`s right.

GERGEN: And that is a big difference for governing.

BEHAR: OK. Thank you very much, David, for your input.

GERGEN: OK, Joy. And great to talk to you again.

BEHAR: OK. Thank you all for watching. Goodnight, everybody.