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The day was bound to come. We all knew it—we should have seen it coming—and yet it’s the sort of life-altering event no one can fully prepare for. Oprah is leaving us.


Okay, I know, Oprah’s not really leaving us. She can’t! Entire industries would crumble, books would go unread, gifts go unbought, charities go unfunded. So yes, there’ll still be the magazine and the girls’ school in Africa and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on cable. But Network Oprah will vanish from our lives in September 2011.


Naturally, the buzz about who should “replace” Oprah was at high decibels even before Her Oprahness (and I mean that with reverence) made her announcement. But the media mavens have it all wrong.


So far, the names I’ve been hearing have been Oprah wannabees, like Tyra Banks (too annoying) or Dr. Oz (er, not a woman) or Gayle King (hmm, that would mean a sequel to the Oprah-Gayle road trip). But we don’t need Oprah Lite or Oprah 2.0, we need someone who’s a true Oprah-in-Training. And the only person who can claim that title is none other than… the outrageous comedian and star of My Life on the D List, Kathy Griffin.


I bet I know what you’re thinking: Oprah would never say “Suck it, Jesus!” upon receiving an award. Or purposely fall out of a limo, pretending to be drunk, just for some free publicity. Or bring Levi Johnston as her date to the VH1 Video Music Awards… just for some free publicity.


But, only Kathy Griffin can be depended upon to keep the spirit of The Oprah Winfrey Show alive. Not convinced? Read on:



  • Because Kathy’s a humble D-Lister, she wouldn’t insist that the show be renamed. Instead, The Oprah Winfrey Show could remain on the air with Kathy as the permanent guest host! (As a bonus, Kathy hails from the Windy City and would certainly be willing to move back to her hometown, thus saving thousands of jobs for Oprah staffers and area merchants.)



  • Kathy refers to herself as the redheaded Oprah, and she’s even performed Oprah-like acts of charity. In one episode of The D List, she handed out wads of cash to women on the streets of Los Angeles. True, her generosity was sometimes met with skepticism and outright rejection whereas Oprah’s is met with loud squeals, vigorous jumping, and random hugging of other audience members, but remember, Kathy is still “in training”.



  • Kathy can effortlessly reproduce some of Oprah’s distinctive mannerisms, including her over-the-top announcement of celebrity mega-guests, such as WHIT-NEY HOU-STONNNNNNN! Another endearing Oprah trait is singing and clapping along in a surprisingly goofy manner when divas like Whitney or Tina or Mariah perform. With a beatific expression on her face. Kathy’s got it down pat.



  • The Official Book Club Selection, Kathy’s cleverly titled memoir, opens with a Letter to Oprah, which contains the following passage: “Just know that if my house ever catches fire, I’m grabbing my two dogs, my picture with you, and running for my life. My mom is on her own.” Can Kelly Ripa or Elisabeth Hasselbeck, two other supposed contenders for the throne, claim that level of devotion?



  • Only Kathy Griffin has “balls of steel” (also the title of her latest comedy special) when it comes to taking on Oprah. Whether it’s expressing her/our preference for Oprah at her current weight (unlike Kathy, I don’t have balls of steel and can’t bring myself to repeat the term she used) or writing that she has “all that money” because she’s “super cheap” or pantomiming Oprah dry humping her to prove her dominance or referring to “Oprah…and her boyfriend, Gayle,” Kathy has never shied away from poking fun at daytime’s diva (and I mean that with reverence, too).


    ©2007 Mundo & photoshopixx.com (partial)

    ©2007 Mundo & photoshopixx.com (partial)


    What better cure for the collective Oprah withdrawal we’ll be experiencing in September 2011 than a guarantee of Oprah-themed humor?
  • Finally, the most important reason for “threatening” to make Kathy Griffin Oprah’s replacement? It’s the only surefire way to get Oprah to reverse her foolhardy decision and sign on for another 25 years with The Oprah Winfrey Show.


    Long live Oprah! Long live the Queen!

    In her "Vox Pop" column for PopMatters Meta voices her observations about pop culture, particularly as it intersects with our lives. She is endlessly fascinated by the myriad ways in which our pop culture choices reflect back on us -- our beliefs, our desires, our idiosyncrasies, our intellects. Wagner's published pieces include written commentaries, features, and profiles for Salon, Boston Globe Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. You can visit her blog here. When she's not writing, Meta is molding young minds as an adjunct professor at Emerson College, where she teaches creative writing. She also developed and occasionally teaches a column-writing class at Grub Street, an independent writing center in Boston.


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