Return to Transcripts main page


The Funniest Campaign Ever; More of Marcia Brady`s Confessions; Will Madonna and Guy Ritchie`s Divorce Battle Get Dirty?; Elisabeth Hasselbeck Will Stay on The View

Aired October 17, 2008 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the funniest campaign ever. John McCain and Barack Obama doing stand-up comedy.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe the Plumber.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was recently told we would be able to move this outdoors to the Yankee Stadium.


HAMMER: Plus, McCain taking on Letterman.

And big news tonight about Sarah Palin and "Saturday Night Live."

But are Palin and McCain getting a raw deal from the comedy shows? Tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with a fired-up debate over the funniest campaign ever.

Tonight, Madonna`s divorce. Brand-new developments. New information about how dirty her divorce battle with Guy Ritchie might get.

Tonight, Marcia Brady`s confessions. "Brady Bunch" star Maureen McCormick reveals more to me about her drug use and dating Michael Jackson.


MAUREEN MCCORMICK, ACTRESS: Wow, just an unbelievable thing. It didn`t seem real.


HAMMER: It`s the explosive interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.


Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Hi there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you from Hollywood. And tonight, Elisabeth Hasselbeck is revealing once and for all whether she is leaving Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg and the ladies of "The View." Elisabeth`s dramatic, emotional and unexpected statement on "The View" today is coming up.

HAMMER: But first, the funniest campaign ever. The fierce battle between Barack Obama and John McCain literally became one big joke over the span of just a few hours. Obama and McCain did stand-up comedy. You had McCain doing "Letterman." And Biden doing "Leno." And "Saturday Night Live" did brand-new takes on both campaigns.

There`s also big news about Sarah Palin. She has just revealed if she will appear on "Saturday Night Live." Tonight, the big laughs making news right now.


DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR (AS SEN. JOHN MCCAIN): Joe the Plumber is a straight shooter and one of the finest people I`ve ever known.

HAMMER (voice over): On the latest Thursday night edition of "Saturday Night Live," the cast got laughs once again. This time skewering the candidates` fascination with Ohio`s Joe the Plumber.

FRED ARMISEN, ACTOR (AS SEN. BARACK): Would your friend, Joe be, by any chance, an imaginary friend?

HAMMOND: Senator Joe the Plumber lived in a cigar box under my bed.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, on the very day this sketch aired, something truly funny happened. We saw the real John McCain and the real Barack Obama spend the day not just gunning for votes, but yucking it up for laughs.

MCCAIN: This morning, I dismissed my entire team of senior advisers, all of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe the Plumber.

HAMMER: From roasting each other at a formal political event -

OBAMA: One of John`s top advisers told "The Daily News" that if we keep talking about the economy, McCain`s going to lose. So tonight, I`d like to talk about the economy.

HAMMER: To cracking jokes on the late-night talk shows.

LETTERMAN: You called me -

MCCAIN: I haven`t had so much fun since my last interrogation.

HAMMER: Obama and McCain may want to be commander-in-chief, but in this, the funniest campaign ever, the two look more like comedians-in-chief. McCain and Obama channeled their inner comedians at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York City. McCain went first.

MCCAIN: Even if in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats, I can`t - I can`t shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me. I`m delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary.


HAMMER: Even Hillary Clinton had to chuckle at that one. Later, Obama took the mike.

OBAMA: John McCain is on to something. There was a point in my life that I started palling around with a pretty ugly crowd. That`s right - I`ve been a member of the United States Senate.

HAMMER: Earlier in the evening, McCain stopped by the "Late Show" to bury the hatchet with host David Letterman.

LETTERMAN: Can you stay?

HAMMER: Three weeks ago, the Republican presidential candidate canceled a scheduled appearance on the "Late Show" claiming he had to deal with the economic crisis. Letterman was not too happy that day.

LETTERMAN: I`m more than a little disappointed by this behavior.

HAMMER: So when he finally made it to Dave`s couch, McCain explained why he snubbed Dave.

LETTERMAN: What exactly happened?

MCCAIN: Can I give you an answer?


MCCAIN: I screwed up.

HAMMER: McCain managed to get in some more laughs.

MCCAIN: Now is not the time to raise anybody`s taxes except yours. And I guarantee you, when I`m president, I`ll do it.

HAMMER: And across the dial, Obama`s running mate, Joe Biden, couldn`t let the presidential candidates have all the fun. He appeared on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno to joke about his recent campaign trail gaffe.

BIDEN: It happens to be, as Barack said, a three-letter word - jobs, J-O- B-S, jobs. I knew I shouldn`t have had lunch with Dan Quayle.

HAMMER: Sure, running for president is serious business, but in this, the funniest campaign ever, the candidates know that as long as people are laughing at them on shows like "Saturday Night Live" -

HAMMOND: I`ve known Sen. Biden for nearly 25 years. I think he`s a good man. But let me say something here. He has never been particularly nice to Joe the Plumber.

HAMMER: They might as well make sure that people laugh with them every now and then as well.


That is funny stuff for sure. But really, who`s coming out looking the best, or worst for that matter, Barack Obama or John McCain? Well, tonight for the very first time, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can now reveal why McCain may not be laughing.

With us tonight in Washington is Amy Holmes, who is a political analyst for CNN. And in New York is Ashleigh Banfield, anchor of "In Session."

All right. So listen to this, guys, a conservative watchdog group called the Center for Media and Public Affairs counted up - they took the time. They got their out their advocates and they counted up the jokes on David Letterman and Jay Leno shows in the past five weeks since McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Can we put up the results of this particular survey here? The total jokes about McCain and Palin, 286. Compare that to Obama and Biden - look at that - only 42.

Now, Amy, let me begin with you. Surely, the Palin factor has played a big part into that. A lot of material there. But do you think there`s something else going on here?

AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, also, John McCain was getting a lot of jokes over his age. And, you know, that he`s a little stiff when he walks and things like that. I think there are a couple things here that oftentimes that comics, they go back to, sort of what are the cultural stereotypes around the person they can use.

And with Barack Obama, it`s hard to figure out what that would be. He`s a very sort of enigmatic man with a multicultural background. Hawaii, Indonesia, Kansas, Kenya - what do you pick out of all of that?

I also think there`s another reason, which are these shows - these are coastal shows in blue states, in the bluest of cities. And I can tell you, I`ve gone on "Real Time," and for HBO quite a bit, and I know the producers. They want more conservatives in the audience. So when you have the talk show hosts cracking the jokes, if he has an audience full of liberals, those are the types of jokes they`re going to play a lot better than jokes about conservatives.

HAMMER: Yes. And historically, this has been the case. I mean, the study also points out Republicans throughout history have been targeted more than Democrats. But, you know, this election has something different going on, because the jabs at Republicans have really been off the charts.

Ashleigh, what do you think? Is it possibly because comedians and writers are just reflecting, you know, what`s really an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the Republican administration?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": I think that could be some of that. But I also think that policy wonks aren`t funny, and Joe Biden is a bit of a policy wonk. And unless you are a policy wonk with some weird affectation like Al Gore speaking ...

HOLMES: Or John Kerry -

BANFIELD: ... or John Kerry speaking, which was very funny in 2000 and 2004, there`s not a whole lot of good material to work with there.

And I agree with Amy. I don`t think there`s a whole lot of good material to work with for comedians when it comes to Obama other than his ears, which, of course, "SNL" does very well with, you know, the depiction of Obama in the campaign. So I think it`s just that Palin is just a really, really funny character for Tina Fey to work with.

HAMMER: Well, John McCain certainly gave David Letterman had plenty of material. Letterman has just been relentless, brutal. I`ve watched virtually every night, and virtually every night, he`s gone after McCain on his show because McCain canceled an appearance on the "Late Show" at the very last minute.

Well, last night, at long last, McCain came back to make amends. Watch what happened.

LETTERMAN: Now, what exactly happened?


I thought I was doing my part to save the economy. And then later on, I think maybe I`m just not important enough.

MCCAIN: Can I give you an answer?


MCCAIN: I screwed up.


HAMMER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I personally believe that McCain owed Dave that apology. I think he did the right thing by giving it to him. That said - Amy, over to you. Isn`t it remarkable? We`re living in a time that the presidential candidates feel they have to make nice with these late-night talk shows or else.

HOLMES: Yes. It`s pretty strange, I have to say. I think politics and policy and choosing your commander-in-chief are more serious than sitting on a chair across from David Letterman and apologizing because you wanted to come back to Washington and fix an economic crisis and a mess.

But you know what? It was the sort of denouement of a long story line that Letterman had been playing out. You know, it arrived. It was cathartic. It`s over. McCain has put that behind him and he doesn`t have to worry about Letterman, you know, jabbing him anymore.

HAMMER: Ashleigh, 10 seconds - give me your gut here. Do you think these shows really influence the election or the candidates just spinning their wheels here?

BANFIELD: I do. Here`s why and I`ll do it in 10 seconds. Nixon once said, "If I lose Cronkite, I lose the country." And these days, a lot of people get their news from the late-night comedians. If you lose them, you`ll lose the country.


HAMMER: Let`s not forget that Nixon said that. That`s very true. Amy Holmes, Ashleigh Banfield, thanks for joining us tonight.

HOLMES: Thanks.

BANFIELD: Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: I can tell you now Sarah Palin is going to be on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. So you see right here, our question of the day, what we want to hear from you tonight - "Sarah Palin: "Is doing `Saturday Night Live` the right thing?" You can vote at Or you can E-mail us - is our address.

ANDERSON: A.J., a lot of people are asking if Madonna and Guy Ritchie will do the right thing and keep their divorce simple.

HAMMER: Yes. At least, we certainly hope that they will, Brooke.

ANDERSON: That`s right. And tonight, brand-new developments, A.J., about how dirty Madonna`s divorce battle with Guy might get. And there`s a lot at stake. Their two kids. $500 million. The latest on that, coming up.

And also this -


MCCORMICK: I don`t have to hide that I did cocaine anymore. I don`t have to hide that I had bulimia. I don`t have to hide that I dealt with - or have dealt with depression for a lot of my adult years.


HAMMER: Wow. Marcia Brady`s confessions. "Brady Bunch" star Maureen McCormick revealed to me more about her drug use, and dating Michael Jackson. Yes, I said dating Michael Jackson. This is the explosive interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: And lot of people have been hassling on Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Is she really leaving "The View?" You`ve got to see what she said about that on today`s show. Her emotional, dramatic revelation is coming up.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Tonight, Marcia Brady reveals more bombshells to me. It`s a story of a lovely lady who went from TV star to coke addict. That`s right. Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on the "Brady Bunch," reveals she had a cocaine addiction, nearly lost her virginity to Barry Williams who, of course, played her brother Greg Brady on the show and even dated Michael Jackson. It is all in this her brand-new book, "Here`s the Story."

When I sat down with Maureen - personally, I just had to ask, why did she put all of this into a book?


MCCORMICK: It was hard. It was hard, you know, going back to a lot of the difficult times that I`ve been through. But it was also really cathartic, just because I feel like, you know, I don`t have to hide anything that I`ve been through. I don`t have to hide that I did cocaine anymore. I don`t have to hide that I had bulimia. I don`t have to hide that I dealt with - or have dealt with depression for a lot of my adult years. So it feels really good just to get out and to say it.

HAMMER (on camera): You talk very candidly about the severe addiction to cocaine that you had.


HAMMER: And that began after the "Brady Bunch." How old were you when the show ended, by the way?

MCCORMICK: Seventeen.

HAMMER: Wow. So right there. There were also other difficult things going on in your life. Was the addiction more to do with the show coming to a close, or the other things, or sort of a combination of both?

MCCORMICK: I think it was a combination of the people that I was hanging out with. I got involved with a guy, and he was my boyfriend. And one day he said, "I want to take you up to my teacher`s house in Laurel Canyon." And I was like, "Great. Let`s go."

So we went. And there was a glass coffee table like this, and it was filled with a mountain of cocaine. And I had no idea what it was. And I took one hit. Didn`t do anything. Couldn`t feel anything. Took another hit. Maybe a little bit more. Then another one. And I was like, "Wow, this is great."

And I have a very, very addictive-type personality. So the drug and me just were inseparable for years.

HAMMER: Yes. It kind of created a perfect storm and led to really quite a spiral that you detail in the book.


HAMMER: You talk about nearly losing your virginity to Barry Williams ...


HAMMER: ... who of course, played Greg Brady. And you were 16 at the time that this took place?

MCCORMICK: Sixteen, seventeen.

HAMMER: Sixteen, seventeen?


HAMMER: And it didn`t actually happen.


HAMMER: But again, let`s keep in mind, this is the guy who was your TV brother when you were, you know, a very young person.


HAMMER: What happened that night, though, when you almost lost your virginity to Barry Williams?

MCCORMICK: It sounds so funny to me now.

HAMMER: And the fact that you`re actually sitting and having conversations about this?


HAMMER: Why? Just because of the surrealness of it all?

MCCORMICK: Totally, it`s surreal. It`s a trip. It`s really funny, you know? I mean, yes, he played my brother. And it just - it`s so funny to me. But what was it like? It was very romantic. It was, you know, our hormones were going crazy. And we were in his bedroom having a really good time. And his parents walked in. Thank god. And we didn`t do the deed.

HAMMER: You talk about some of the other people you were involved with when you were very young. That I found a little surprising, having never heard this before. Steve Martin is someone you had dated at one point?

MCCORMICK: I dated once, yes.

HAMMER: Michael Jackson, while he was in the Jackson Five?

MCCORMICK: Yes, when he was like 14 years old.

HAMMER: Do you have a specific recollection of what that was like? Dating Michael Jackson?

MCCORMICK: Oh, my gosh, are you kidding me? Because he was a superstar to me.


MCCORMICK: I was like, you know - I mean, Jackson Five was my favorite group. So to be able to be at the Jackson house, and to hang out with Michael Jackson, and go ice skating with him was, you know, wow. Just an unbelievable thing. It didn`t seem real.

HAMMER: Yes. It`s like a kid`s fantasy.

MCCORMICK: It was surreal, too. That was surreal, too.



Maureen is happy to proclaim she is 50 now, and life has never been better. She`s actually 52. And since she turned 50, never better.

For more of Maureen McCormick`s incredible story, grab the book "Here`s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding my True Voice." It`s in stores right now.

ANDERSON: A.J., people cannot stop talking about Madonna`s divorce from Guy Ritchie.

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. People are wondering, obviously, is there going to be a huge battle over the reported $500 million fortune. That`s what we asked you to vote on Thursday on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, "Madonna and Guy Ritchie Split: Should he get half of her fortune?" Only 36 percent of you said yes, he should. Nearly two-thirds said no.

ANDERSON: We`ve also been getting tons of calls into our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines about this. Francis from California thinks Madonna should keep her fair share.


FRANCIS, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: I think that Madonna`s husband should get just $35 million and get on. And Madonna should have her money. She`s a hard-working woman, and I don`t think he should come along and take her money.


HAMMER: Yes. She worked out the numbers for them. Norma from Washington, however, thinks it should be split 50/50.


NORMA, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: Yes. I think Guy Ritchie should get half of Madonna`s millions, or billions, or trillions, whatever it is. He`s been there through all of it with her.


ANDERSON: Remember, our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines always open 24/7. So tell us what you think about Madonna`s divorce or anything else showbiz- related that is on your mind. Call us - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ. That`s 1-888-728- 2899. Leave a voicemail and we will play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online on our homepage

HAMMER: Imagine we`re going to get a lot more phone calls to "Showbiz On Call" about Madonna`s divorce after what we`ve got tonight.

ANDERSON: Yes, A.J. New developments about how dirty Madonna`s divorce might get. Also, a shocking interview with Guy Ritchie that may have hinted that their marriage was on the rocks.

And also this -

MCCAIN: After all, it began so long ago with the heralded arrival of a man known to Oprah Winfrey as "the one." Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him "that one."

HAMMER: I`ve got to say this is the funniest presidential campaign I`ve ever seen. John McCain and Barack Obama going at each other with some hilarious jokes on live TV. But who`s funnier? I`ve got the funniest debate over the funniest election ever.

ANDERSON: Britney Spears taking off the gloves. In a brand-new video, Britney`s very first video blog and her dramatic message, straight ahead.


HAMMER: Thank you, Charles. Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson.

And A.J., did you see this? It`s Britney Spears` brand-spanking new Web site and she`s taking on the paparazzi.

HAMMER: Yes. I have taken a look at this, Brooke. You know, Britney has been on this major comeback kick offline, so I guess it makes sense that she wanted to spruce up her image online as well.

ANDERSON: Yes. She`s got some brand-new pictures and has a very personal message for the paparazzi who have hounded her. Watch out, because Brit may try to put you out of business.


BRITNEY SPEARS, POP STAR: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the new "" I want to thank you guys for all your support. It really means a lot to me. I`m taking you where no paparazzi lens ever could. I`ll be updating the site all the time with new videos and photos and lots of other cool stuff. OK, I think that`s it.


ANDERSON: Well, there`s been all kinds of buzz online, on TV, in magazines, that Elisabeth Hasselbeck, A.J., may be leaving "The View."

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. I think all that talk has made things a little bit awkward on that set at times.

Tonight, however, she`s finally setting the record straight and you`ve got to see what Hasselbeck said on "The View" today. Pretty dramatic stuff, coming up.

Also this -


MCCAIN: After all, it began so long ago with the heralded arrival of a man known to Oprah Winfrey as "the one." Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him "that one."


HAMMER: I admit it; John McCain and Barack Obama had such great senses of humor especially on live TV. I`ve got to say, this is the funniest presidential campaign ever. But who`s funnier? I`ve got the funniest fired-up debate over the funniest election ever, coming up.

ANDERSON: And brand-new developments in Madonna`s divorce. Tonight, a revealing interview with her soon-to-be ex, Guy Ritchie that might have hinted their marriage was doomed. How dirty will their divorce get? Straight ahead.

HAMMER: Now, please keep in mind that you can always stay on top of the most provocative entertainment news if you`re a subscriber to our daily SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter. It`s free.

All you`ve got to do is head on over to If you click on the "sign up for the newsletter" link at the bottom of the page, we`ll know where to send it every day. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.




MCCAIN: After all, it began so long ago with the heralded arrival of a man known to Oprah Winfrey as "the one." Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him "that one."


HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the funniest campaign ever. Barack Obama and John McCain do stand-up acts. But who was funnier? Wait until you see this. And you can judge for yourself. Who got the most laughs in the funniest campaign ever?

Madonna`s divorce. With so much money at stake and children involved, we`re asking, how nasty will this divorce get? Will the gloves come off?

TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you tonight from Hollywood.

HAMMER: And right now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the funniest campaign ever. This is getting good, and it is including John McCain and Barack Obama doing stand-up comedy bits and trading laughs instead of trading vicious attacks, thank goodness.

Wow, what a difference a day makes. Just Wednesday night when John McCain and Barack Obama really took the gloves off in the third and final debate. Then on Thursday night, they were at this political dinner in New York City and McCain and Obama took the gloves off again. Only this time, no attacks, just jokes. Watch this.


OBAMA: To name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness? It`s possible that I`m a little too awesome.

MCCAIN: I dismissed my entire team of senior advisers. All of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe the Plumber.


HAMMER: It is really funny. You`ve got to see the rest of McCain and Obama`s stand-up routines. We`ve got a bunch to play for you.

Also new right now, Sarah Palin today confirmed that she is going to do "Saturday Night Live," and she`s doing it this weekend. But what should she do? How should she handle it?

Joining me tonight from Washington, Amy Holmes, who`s a CNN political analyst. And in New York, it`s Ashleigh Banfield who is an anchor for "In Session."

All right. Ashleigh, Amy, we`re going to kick things off with Obama and McCain, who were in, what I believe, their finest hour yet in this whole campaign when they were at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Now, as we know, Sarah Palin has just been getting teased nonstop about saying, "You know, you can see Russia from Alaska," and that`s why she has foreign policy experience. Take a look at how Obama had some fun of his own with that. Watch.


OBAMA: I do love the Waldorf Astoria. You Know, I hear from the doorstep, you can see all the way to the Russian tea room.


HAMMER: There you go. Obama just couldn`t resist going there. Ashleigh, you`ve got to love it.

BANFIELD: I do, because I work on the eastside of Manhattan. And from my office, I can see the U.N. And I have often felt like I could broker world peace, A.J.

HAMMER: There you go. Perfect. Perfect. And the stand-up routine that McCain did came before Obama`s. McCain was having plenty of self-effacing fun as well. He poked fun at himself for that time we all remember when he referred to Barack Obama as "that one" during their second debate. Watch what McCain said.


MCCAIN: This campaign needs the common touch of a working man. After all, it began so long ago with the heralded arrival with a man known to Oprah Winfrey as "the one." Being a friend and colleague of Barack, I just called him "that one." In fact, he even has a pet name for me - George Bush.


HAMMER: Well done. A lot of people saying today, "Wow, McCain is funny. How in the world did that happen?" Amy, I`m thinking maybe his campaign is regretting they didn`t put him out on some kind of a comedy tour during this whole campaign.

HOLMES: Well, Republican conservatives have long known that John McCain is funny. He can have a very sharp sense of humor, you know, throw out those zingers. We saw them last night, both directed at Barack Obama and himself.

You know, unfortunately, I agree we don`t see enough humor. We don`t see enough of the warm, human side of these candidates. You might recall back in 1996, when Bob Dole was running, a lot of his supporters said, "You know, when he`s not campaigning, he`s a really funny guy."

And after he lost the election, he went on David Letterman, and David Letterman said, "Where was this guy yesterday?" So I think last night was a great opportunity for voters to see, these are real people, real guys, real candidates. And this is the real battle of ideas.

HAMMER: Yes. Obviously, we`re in tough times right now. There`s a lot of serious issues that have to be discussed. But levity is also really, really important to everybody.

Obama having a good time poking fun at himself, referring to where he made his acceptance speech. We all remember after he won the Democratic nomination, he did that at Invesco Field in Denver in front of, you know, 70,000 people, on this enormous set that looked like a Greek coliseum. Watch Obama here.


OBAMA: I have to say tonight`s venue isn`t really what I`m used to. I was originally told we would be able to move this outdoors to Yankee Stadium. And can somebody tell me what happened to the Greek columns that I requested?


HAMMER: So they get it. They totally get it. Ashleigh, obviously, we do not yet know who will win the presidential race come November. But when it came to winning the funny race this week, do you call it for Obama or do you call it for McCain?

BANFIELD: I think I call this one for McCain because he was funny right from the start to scratch and finish. And I think Obama, who was hysterical, kind of got too serious at the end and this wasn`t the time for that. It was wonderful what he said. It sounded very presidential. But come on, that wasn`t fair to McCain. He kept with the program.

HAMMER: Amy Holmes, I know you pretty well. And I can take a guess at who you`re going to say, but I`ll let you say it yourself. Who won this particular race for you?

HOLMES: I agree with Ashleigh. I think that just on the merits, John McCain was funnier. But another point that I want to make about this is that this is such a testament to American democracy that we have these tough, bitter elections, but we have a, you know, peaceful, safe transfer of power from one administration to the next. We don`t have blood letting in the streets.


HOLMES: You know, I think that`s really important for us to remember. And a night like last night reminds American voters about that.

HAMMER: Hopefully it bespeaks - I believe I just used the word "bespeaks" - to the idea that the parties can also come together when this whole thing is all over.

HOLMES: Oh, don`t go that far.

HAMMER: All right. You`re right. Sorry, bad idea. Let`s move on then because there is another story making news right now we`ve got to talk about.

CNN has confirmed Sarah Palin is going to appear on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend after all that speculation of would she do it? Would she not? When is she going to do it?

Ashleigh, is it essential that on "Saturday Night Live," Sarah Palin is self-effacing and pokes fun at herself?

BANFIELD: Yes, but only as pertains to, I think, her speaking style. I don`t think she should be poking fun at the mistakes she`s made, or the mess-ups that she`s made with Katie Couric, because it will just remind people that they`re not crazy about someone who isn`t able to quote Supreme Court decisions that she`s not happy with.

I think she just needs to make fun of the hockey mom, lipstick and her funny accent. I think that`s where she could really shine, but she shouldn`t go to policy.

HAMMER: Yes. I think that`s probably best. Because I don`t think if she gets on there and makes fun of the fact that she perhaps has a more limited foreign policy experience than her vice presidential candidate contender, that, yes, that probably wouldn`t be a good thing.

There was an interview that she gave to ABC Radio today. Sarah Palin was asked in this interview if she`s going to play Tina Fey on "Saturday Night Live," which has been the subject of a lot of speculation. And Palin said, quote, "I should. That`s a good idea."

Amy Holmes, do you think that`s a good idea?

HOLMES: We have the meta, meta comic, Sarah Palin as Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. I think it`s really important that she be funny, that she be self- effacing. Ashleigh is right. Self-effacing on the superficial and you know, the things that are charming about her that do appeal to voters, not on substantive issues.

But you know, I want to say, A.J. - I think this is risky. You have someone who has to be both funny and confident and be using good material. That`s not always true with "SNL." They`re not always funny and those are professional comics.

And this is a week before - two weeks before the election. So I hope that her performance doesn`t turn into a regretful YouTube moment that just gets repeated over and over and over.

HAMMER: To that end, Amy, so you`re suggesting that this could potentially backfire, especially so close to the election. In your mind, how could it backfire?

HOLMES: Well, it could backfire if she falls flat. of the jokes are a little too close to the bone as Ashleigh says, are raising doubts about Sarah Palin. And you know, John McCain - he went on "Saturday Night Live" years ago and he really wasn`t that great. And you know, Hillary Clinton - she went on "Saturday Night Live" during the Democratic primary and she`s not the Democratic nominee.

HAMMER: In that same ABC Radio interview, she also said that she hadn`t yet seen a script. So you can imagine, we`re so close to "Saturday Night Live" being on the air, she hasn`t seen the script. And you know there are going to be massive meetings with her advisers and all the people involved with her campaign before she does it.

Ashleigh Banfield, what do you think? Could this backfire in your mind? And if so, how?

BANFIELD: Well, yes. I guess she hasn`t seen a script because she wasn`t able to tell Katie Couric what she reads anyway. I don`t know. I think I`m with Amy on this one. I think it`s too risky. I think there have been a lot of credibility problems with Sarah Palin. I don`t think you`re going to win back those who doubt your credibility by going on a comedy show. I just don`t think that the pluses outweigh the pitfalls.

HAMMER: I`m going to take a stab in the dark here. "SNL" is going to have a pretty good weekend.


Amy Holmes and Ashleigh Banfield, thanks for being here, guys. I appreciate it.

HOLMES: Thanks, A.J.


HAMMER: We`ve been asking you to vote on the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. It is this - "Sarah Palin: Is doing `Saturday Night Live` the right thing?" Keep voting at You can E-mail us at

We also want you to call us. "Showbiz On Call" - that`s where you can let us know in your own voice what you think about this. Or if there`s anything else on your mind, tell us that as well.

ANDERSON: The "Showbiz On Call" phone lines always open. Give us a ring - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Just leave a voicemail and we will play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Hey, A.J., you know, everybody`s still talking about the news that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting divorced.

HAMMER: Yes. Big, big news. There`s a ton of money at stake here, Brooke. Kids involved. Really, the perfect storm when you think about it. So I want to know, how nasty will this get? Will Madonna and Guy end up having a Paul McCartney-Heather Mills-sized battle? Will the gloves come off? We`ll be looking into that, next.

ANDERSON: Also, have you heard the rumors that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is leaving "The View" for FOX? We`ve heard all sorts of chatter about this. But is it true? Elisabeth and her co-host set the record straight, coming up.

HAMMER: And Angelina Jolie speaks out about Brad and the kids. So how do they make their famous, gorgeous family work? That is coming up. It`s Angelina in her own words.



GUY RITCHIE, MADONNA`S SOON-TO-BE EX-HUSBAND: We`re both so busy, actually, that I don`t think we`ve got the time to see one another.


ANDERSON: Tonight, startling new insight about the rocky months before Madonna and Guy Ritchie called it quits, and how dirty their divorce just might get.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

Tonight there are new signs that Madonna and Guy Ritchie could be in for a dirty divorce battle. They are worth an estimate $500 million, mostly Madonna`s. And reportedly, no prenup. Will Guy try to take a big chunk of Madonna`s fortune, and what about the kids?

Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Jerry Penacoli, who is a correspondent for "Extra." And tonight, in New York, Lizzie Goodman who is an editor-at-large for "Blender" magazine.

Lizzie, Jerry, thanks for being here. And hey, you`ve got to admit, there are a lot of people out there salivating at the prospect that Madonna and Guy Ritchie`s divorce, guessing that maybe it`s ugly and as petty as Paul McCartney`s and Heather Mills. Madonna has even hired Paul McCartney`s pit bull divorce lawyer. Lizzie, it seems maybe that she`s getting ready to go for the jugular here.

LIZZIE GOODMAN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "BLENDER" MAGAZINE: It does. She`s firing a warning shot with that hire there. You know it`s - if she`s in London, I mean, this is a dangerous, dangerous place to get divorced. There traditionally are very lucrative settlements for the less-wealthy party. So she`s going to need a pit bull on her team.

ANDERSON: Yes, and that lawyer, Fiona Shackleton, does not play around.

And Jerry, you`ve interviewed Madonna, and Guy Ritchie several times. Just last month, Guy Ritchie revealed to you more than he probably intended about his marriage to Madonna when you asked him about a Kabbalah documentary he was producing, and how it was going. Madonna, of course, a devout follower of Kabbalah. Here it is.


RITCHIE: It gets people rather hot under the collar. So I just have to make sure that I can be as objective and as uncontroversial as I can be.

JERRY PENACOLI, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Well, I`m sure your wife is helping you with that. I mean, she`s obviously - the two of you have - are great believers in the religion, from what I understand. Is that true?

RITCHIE: I don`t really understand Kabbalah as a religion or as a belief system.

PENACOLI: So it`s not something that you personally subscribe to?

RITCHIE: I don`t think - I`ll answer it. I don`t think it`s a religion, as far as I`m aware.


ANDERSON: Oh, boy. It sounds like Guy doesn`t even acknowledge it as a religion. There`s a lot of speculation that Kabbalah caused a rift in their marriage, Jerry. What do you think?

PENACOLI: Well, I`ll tell you, it was quite a shock to be sitting there with Guy Ritchie. And of course, we`ve all seen the pictures over the years of Guy and Madonna visiting the Kabbalah centers around the world, in New York, in Los Angeles, in London and other places, going to Israel. And so to hear him say - wow, "This is something that I don`t subscribe to. This is something that I don`t even understand," was really quite a shock.

And so, yes, I mean, word is, too, that Madonna wanted to use Kabbalah because they really wanted to try to make this marriage work. In the end, they were trying to use Kabbalah or she was, at least, trying to use her belief system to try to make the marriage more cohesive. And in the end, it might be exactly the thing that brought it down.

ANDERSON: Yes. It seems like they were just not on the same page. And here`s another reason this divorce could get dirty. There`s $525 million at stake here, most of which Madonna earned.

Now, the two reportedly never signed a prenup. And England tends to split fortunes right down the middle in high-profile divorces. Lizzie, do you foresee a nasty fight over this fortune?

GOODMAN: I do. I mean, given - if the proceedings go forward in England as it appears like they will, Ritchie is set up - Guy Ritchie is set up to have a huge payout here.

And Madonna, being the savvy business woman that she is - it just doesn`t seem like she`s ready to let that happen, especially given what she`s been saying on stage about him, making these little digs about how, you know, he`s an emotionally unavailable and making comments about how maybe he was selfish about spending none of his money and all of their money while they were together.

I mean, she`s firing a series of warning shots here that really seem to say she`s ready to get serious and hang on to her - close the purse strings tight.

ANDERSON: Yes. She is a smart cookie, too. So he may need to be prepared for that. Well, in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, we asked, "Madonna and Guy Ritchie Split: Should he get half of her fortune?" Thirty-six percent said yes, 64 percent said no.

And you guys, besides the money, there are two kids that they have together, eight-year-old Rocco, three-year-old David Banda. Jerry, very quickly, 10 seconds - how do you see that playing out?

PENACOLI: Well, it really depends on where Madonna decides to live. If she decides to move to New York, things can get kind of ugly. If she decides to stay in London, I think for the sake of the kids, they`re going to work things out amicably.

ANDERSON: Yes. Hopefully, they can both remain civil for the sake of the kids. We wish them the best.

Jerry Penacoli, Lizzie Goodman, good to see you. Thanks.

HAMMER: Well, moving on now tonight, Elisabeth Hasselbeck is setting the record straight. Is she really ditching her gig on "The View?" You know, there have been all sorts of rumors floating around that Elisabeth is leaving "The View" to be on fox. Well, today, the co-hosts took the opportunity to clear things up. Watch this.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Let`s clear this up. Are you going anywhere?

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I`m not going anywhere.

SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Let`s just get that out of the way.



HASSELBECK: I mean it. I love you all. I`m staying here.

GOLDBERG: I just wanted to clear that up.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Everybody asks me. People are constantly stopping me, "Is Elisabeth leaving and going to FOX?" So tell them outright again. I am not saying.

HASSELBECK: I am not leaving. I love my ladies here. I`m not going anywhere.



HAMMER: So there you have it. She loves that FOX, but she`s staying at "The View." So please stop asking Joy Behar, would you?


Now it`s time for making it work. And this is where we take a look at famous couples who manage to build strong relationships in the spotlight.

Tonight, the most famous of them all, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Angelina says she never wanted to get pregnant until she met Brad.

Now, with their 3-month-old twins, Brad and Angie have six kids, and they want more. On the "Today" show, Angelina said she and Brad work hard to give their kids a strong foundation.


ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: We wake up as mommy and daddy who want to make sure we`re raising our kids with the right values. We want them to see all different sides of the world. We want them to be responsible, but also be able to enjoy their life and the privileges that they have and not to feel ashamed of them, but to embrace them. If they can have, you know, better schooling, then, you know, give them everything we can possibly give them. Never spoil them and never let them forget how fortunate they are.


ANDERSON: In an interview for Sunday`s "New York Times," Angelina says she looks forward to the day when she can put Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the DVD player for the children because, quote, "Not a lot of people get to see a movie where their parents fell in love."

HAMMER: Well, it`s official. This is the funniest presidential campaign ever. And I`m not just talking about "Saturday Night Live."


OBAMA: John McCain is on to something. There was a point in my life when I started palling around with a pretty ugly crowd. That`s right - I have been a member of the United States Senate.


HAMMER: Who knew, Barack Obama stand-up comedian. John McCain, too. You`ve heard some of it. We are bringing you more of their hysterical routines when our coverage of the funniest campaign ever continues, coming up next on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and our continuing coverage of the funniest campaign ever. It was a surreal moment last night as John McCain and Barack Obama both did stand-up acts. This is at an annual charity dinner, and the two men running for president of the United States traded jokes instead of jabs. Take a look at McCain doing a Joe the plumber joke.

MCCAIN: That this honest, hard working, small business man could not possibly have enough income to face a tax increase under the Obama plan. What they don`t know - what they don`t know - is Joe the plumber recently signed a very lucrative contract with a wealthy couple to handle all of the work on all seven of their houses.

OBAMA: John McCain is on to something. There was a point in my life when I started palling around with a pretty ugly crowd. I have got to be honest. These guys were serious dead beats. They were low-lifes, they were unrepentant, no-good punks. That`s right - I have been a member of the United States Senate.


ANDERSON: And it gets better. While McCain and Obama were doing stand-up, "Saturday Night Live" was airing a brand-new spoof of their most recent debate.


HAMMOND: As president I would go after these bloated budgets with a giant hatchet. And then use the scalpel or I might take the advice of my friend Joe the Plumber and use a plunger.

ARMISEN: A plunger, I don`t understand?

HAMMOND: Obviously, senator, it is not an ordinary plunger. It`s a magical plunger. So your friend Joe the plumber has a magical plunger?

MCCAIN: That`s correct.

HAMMOND: Would your friend Joe be, by any chance, an imaginary friend?

MCCAIN: Senator, Joe the Plumber lived in a cigar box under my bed with our friend, Simon.


HAMMER: They just keep on coming. As we mentioned, Sarah Palin herself is going to be on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. Can`t wait to see that.

We have been asking this on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Sarah Palin: Is doing "Saturday Night Live" the right thing?

Keep voting at Or E-mail us if you have more to say,

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Remember, you can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. And in the morning, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. The latest from "CNN HEADLINE NEWS" is next. Take care.