THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Toronto Sun - Oct. 5, 2009 - By Entertainment Columnists / Bill Harris
Regis a standup guy
TV host brings jokes, songs and stories to Rama stage
RAMA, Ont. -- Everyone was wondering if Regis Philbin would say anything about the sex and blackmail scandal surrounding his pal David Letterman.
Well, Philbin did offer a few words on the touchy subject during his concert Saturday night at Casino Rama. The 78-year-old Philbin also sang a duet with 88-year-old Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, who is dealing with some controversy of her own these days -- but let's get to Letterman first.
"What are we going to do about David Letterman?" Philbin said, prompting some oohs and aaahs and gasps from the crowd. "Everyone's asking me about Dave.
"Frankly, I didn't know he had it in him."
When audience laughter from that comment died down, Philbin got a little more serious when he added, "It's such a sad story. I hate it."
Letterman admitted on his late-night show last Thursday that he has had sex with women who work for him, and that someone who found out about it allegedly tried to blackmail him for $2 million.
MAYOR IN CROWD
As for McCallion, Philbin announced that she was in the crowd and asked her to stand up. He quipped, "Can you believe they put the mayor in the second row?"
Later, Philbin called McCallion up to the foot of the stage, where they performed a duet of You Made Me Love You.
McCallion is in the midst of a conflict-of-interest brouhaha, with Mississauga council launching a legal inquiry last week. But it was all smiles for McCallion on Saturday, as she received a partial standing ovation from the crowd at the conclusion of her duet with Philbin.
"She got a bigger hand than I got when I walked out here," Philbin said with mock indignation. "What the heck is going on?"
So generally speaking, what the heck goes on when you see a Regis Philbin live show?
Well, it's kind of a throwback to the days of all-around entertainers, who did a little bit of everything. There were all sorts of guys like that up until, say, the late 1960s, but they're few and far between now.
SANG WITH WIFE JOY
Philbin sang some songs -- including three or four with his wife Joy. Many people who know Philbin primarily, or exclusively, from his weekday-morning syndicated TV talk show Live! with Regis and Kelly usually are surprised to see he travels with a 20-plus-member orchestra.
Philbin also told some stories and jokes. One of the funniest segments came when Philbin relayed a number of Letterman's on-air lines where Philbin has been the butt.
"David has been a friend for a long time, but every night he has a joke about me, even in dire times," Philbin said. "When it was announced I needed triple-bypass surgery, Dave went on his show that night and said, 'Regis is going to be in the hospital for six weeks, so you know what that means: Facelift!'
"Then when the surgery was successful, Dave said, 'This isn't the first time Regis has had successful surgery. Remember, about seven years ago he had Kathie Lee removed.' "
Philbin's former TV co-host Kathie Lee Gifford was replaced by Kelly Ripa, who was the victim of a few Philbin zingers on Saturday.
Referencing Ripa's ripped and slender body, Philbin said, "I think she's one of the most beautiful women on television -- if she could just lose five pounds. I sneezed hard the other day and it blew her into the third row.
"She's up for contract right now and ABC wants to pay her by the pound. She wants to be paid by the word."
Philbin said Ripa is going to leave some day, like Gifford did, as a guise to invite half a dozen women up to the stage to audition to be Ripa's replacement. That segment went on too long -- the women were amusing, but they weren't THAT amusing -- and we would have preferred another story or two from Philbin.
The evening ended with Regis and Joy singing What a Wonderful World.
Regis Philbin's final words: "See you Monday morning, okay?"
Man, this guy never stops.
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