As part of the press tour for the long-awaited Will and Grace revival, the core four cast members appeared on Megyn Kelly Today, the new politics-free Today Show segment hosted by renowned political journalist Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox News. Kelly chose to focus the interview around the topic of #WillAndGrace's cultural influence, particularly how it influenced many of its lesbian and gay fans to come out and live their lives true to their sexuality.
You can watch the whole interview in the YouTube clip below:
While Kelly and the gang seemed to be all laughs and smiles, the interview did fall flat with quite a few fans. One fan even brought it up in the comments section of Debra Messing's Instagram, asking why they had agreed to go on Kelly's show in the first place.
Instagram user ivor_pine asked:
"But why did you guys do the Megyn Kelly show? That's a fail!!"
To which Debra Messing herself responded:
"honestly I didn't know it was MK until that morning. The itinerary just said Today Show appearance. Regret going on. Dismayed by her comments."
The comments to which Messing is referring to are undoubtedly those directed at the super-fan Russell Turner. Kelly asked Turner:
"Is it true you became a lawyer — and you became gay — because of Will?"
And then followed up with:
"I don't know about the lawyer thing, but the ‘Will & Grace’ thing and the gay thing is going to work out."
While the the comments were likely meant without malice, they do come across as a bit tone-deaf, and might have fallen even flatter had Turner not handled them with such (will and) grace.
That might have been the end of it, but now, Page Six is reporting statements from some conflicting sources. According to the gossip site, "NBC insiders" are on Kelly's side, saying that her comments were "tongue-in-cheek," and it's Messing who should watch what she says more carefully. One of these execs stated:
"Debra was told to cut it out by someone high up in the NBC Entertainment division run by Bob Greenblatt, via her agent or publicist."
But then, Page Six also ran a comment from a source close to Messing, claiming:
"NBC has been nothing but supportive of Debra... No one asked us to do anything."
But the Kelly-related controversies don't end there. On Wednesday, two days after the Will and Grace appearance, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford came on the show to promote their new movie, Our Souls at Night. Kelly opted to take this opportunity to compliment Jane Fonda on aging gracefully (is that really such a compliment, though?), and then ask her about having had plastic surgery:
"You've been an example to everyone in how to age beautifully and with strength and unapologetically. You admit you've had work done, which I think is to your credit. But you look amazing.... I read that you said you're not proud to say you've had work done. Why not?"
Fonda shut Kelly down immediately with an incredulous face:
"Are we really going to talk about that now?"
The audience laughed, and to her credit, it doesn't appear that Kelly is trying to be in any way cruel, but she continued to press the issue even though it clearly made Fonda uncomfortable. While Kelly's blunt style and relentless, tough questions made her such a hit at Fox and in the world of political journalism, it's having the opposite effect in her new role as friendly talk show host. Clearly, she has her work cut out for her if she hopes to step out of the political persona she forged at Fox News and appeal to a wider audience.