Daytime talk show host-with-the-most, Drew Barrymore, is known for getting up close and personal with guests, but is her intimate interview style too much for a former first lady?
On Monday’s episode of “The Drew Barrymore Show” the host addressed the internet fodder regarding her touchy-feely persona with a gimmick involving duct tape and the Secret Service.
In her opening segment, Barrymore sat in her armchair with a nervous expression as her “Drew’s News” co-host Ross Mathews and two Secret Service agents approached wielding yellow tape ahead of her interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“Hey, Drew. These are my friends from the Secret Service,” Mathews said. “They saw the memes about how close you get to people you’re interviewing and they just want to make sure you aren’t gonna pounce on our special guest today, so I’m gonna go ahead and strap you down.”
Barrymore gave rueful nods as Mathews taped her to her seat. “Oh gosh, I get it,” she said. “Look, I’m in on the joke, I know that I get too close to people and I’m too much, but what do you expect with the guest we have coming out?”
“Who wouldn’t want to be close to [her]? … I’ll tell you one thing — I have to be myself,” she said before busting herself free from the constraints.
Barrymore welcomed Obama onto the show to discuss her new book, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” saying that, at night, she’d hold the book to her chest wishing the former first lady were her family, mom, sister.
In the follow-up to Obama’s acclaimed bestseller “Becoming,” Obama discusses strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in an era of uncertainty. The book also takes a deeper look at issues around race, gender, and visibility, as well as practical wisdom and advice for working through fear, finding strength in community, and living life with boldness.
Barrymore asked Obama how to live a big life and remain grounded and connected.
“It’s a deep, very good question, because it’s not just for people who are living the stereotypic big life because no matter how far we’ve gone I still see myself the way you see yourself,” the former first lady said.
“I am Michelle Robinson. Nobody knew who we were until we were in our 40s. I mean, who is Barack Obama? We’ve spent the majority of our lives living as a lovely, loving married couple on the South Side of Chicago, we had great jobs, we got engaged in service, we had these two little girls, and then my husband decided to run for president and I was like, ‘What is wrong with you? We have a nice life here.’
“So what I say about the White House, the White House doesn’t change you, who you are, it reveals who you are,” she continued. “And if you were raised to be grounded and humble, you practice that, that is who you are. And so for me, I was raised on the South Side of Chicago by Marian and Fraser Robinson, and they taught us to respect people, to work hard, to treat each other as we would want to be treated.”
Barrymore almost made it to the end of the interview without doing her famous chair scoot, but when Drew revealed that she’d once seen Obama at a gala and felt too intimidated to walk over and greet her, the former first lady encouraged her to “cross hard rooms,” and Barrymore caved and inched toward the former first lady to hold her hands.
“Get close, girl!” Obama said, laughing
“OK, so I need to cross the room?” Barrymore asked.
“You have to cross the room. Especially if it’s me,” Obama replied. “Do it.”