It’s time now to run down the highlights of the second and final hour of Surprise Oprah!: A Farewell Spectacular. Or so they say it’s the final hour. Maybe the hours will just keep coming, and the audience is still trapped inside the United Center, begging for a hot dog or bottled water or just a single Mentos for sustenance. “Can we stop saying goodbye to Oprah now?” “NO! Now wiggle your glowing finger-thingies faster!”
Let’s run down the best parts:
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith took over hosting duties from Tom Hanks, and Jada delivered a truly intense tribute to Oprah without ever blinking or breaking eye contact. It was a little terrifying.
Michael Jordan got a hero’s welcome, and recalled how he and Oprah both arrived in Chicago around the same time, but with exactly opposite goals: She wanted to be a pro basketball player, and he wanted to be the biggest daytime talk show host in history. But fate had different plans! LOL!
Jamie Foxx started singing “Isn’t She Lovely,” and the audience began to shriek as if they were witnessing a reunion of all four original Beatles.
Really? This? For Jamie Foxx singing? Okay, then! Then Stevie Wonder emerged from the floor, and, well—I’d show you what that looked like, but it’s far too graphic, and we’re a family website. Do you like standup comedy? Because Jerry Seinfeld delivered a set on the crazy things dudes do to appease their shrewish wives (e.g. attend Oprah farewell shows).
Things got really weird when Simon Cowell came out to deliver a strange speech about how he and Oprah are best friends, and they never lie to each other, and he is responsible for many chart-toppers, but none of the people he was about to introduce would ever appear on the charts. It made zero sense, and Oprah looked even more confused at the end of it than she did when he first came out. Then Rosie O’Donnell and a chorus of male dancers in tuxes and top hats did a musical number that introduced Oprah’s syndicated cronies: Drs. Phil and Oz and Nate Berkus. (Rachael Ray and Bob the Trainer That Time Forgot were nowhere to be seen.)
Okay, but that was worth slogging through for the next part: Maria Shriver! (I think Gayle was there, too.) “You’ve given me love, support, wisdom, and most important of all," pause for dramatic effect, "the truth.” Slight delayed reaction—then a round of applause. Oprah said, “Here’s to the truth!” as she held Maria’s fist up in the air. Take that, Arnold, you jerk.
Oprah managed to keep it together pretty well until Kristin Chenoweth came out singing with the students of Morehouse College, because when I think Kristen Chenoweth, I instantly think "the only all-male historically black institution of higher learning in the United States." It's just the first thing that pops into my head! Chenoweth sang a very sweet song about Oprah changing everyone's life, and that's when the guest of honor finally broke out the famous Oprah Ugly Cry. Hello, Ugly Cry! We’ve missed you.
Maya Angelou recited a poem that had Oprah’s name in it about 1000 times, then Alicia Keys played a few bars of “Superwoman,” and, and, and... Phew. It’s not even over yet! All Johnny Carson got was Better Midler and a microphone, and he seemed pretty content with that. How much does Oprah need? Doesn’t she have it all already? Nonsense! Give her more! Give her Stedman (who called her a “colored girl,” but he’s her boyfriend so that’s okay) (I think). No! More! Give her Aretha singing “Amazing Grace.” Belt it, Queen of Soul! Belt it for Oprah! It's just like Maya said: "Oprah! Oprah! Oprah!"
And that’s all she wrote. Just one more episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to go, people. Then we can all take a well-deserved, month-long nap.