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Alec Baldwin on 'The View'

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Alec_lLast week, a bunch of you told me I should never check in with The View on a Friday, since that’s the one day it’s pre-taped, and while I strenuously disagree — should your favorite restaurant get a free pass on violating health codes every Friday, hmmm? — I vowed that next time I blogged about the show, I’d do it during the white-hot Mon-Thur period. Of course, that was before I found out Alec Baldwin had taped an interview with Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Walters to air today. So while a large part of me really wanted to forget the 30 Rock star’s recent rageful phone-message to his daughter Ireland, I was curious to see how the actor would handle discussing an incident that’s prompted him to try to get out of his contract with TV’s funniest sitcom, and focus instead on lobbying to change divorce-litigation laws.

Not surprisingly, the interview was painfully awkward — from Baldwin’s disconnect with Walters, to the rambling answers you could tell O’Donnell was hoping Baldwin might cut short. The trio’s opening exchange at least provided a brief, if slightly uncomfortable, chuckle at the expense of dotty Barbara.

Alec: “I got a huge bouquet of flowers from Don Imus.”
Rosie and audience: [Laughing.]
Barbara: [Pausing for a moment.] “Did you really?”
Alec: “No.”
Barbara: “One doesn’t know.”

Still, while it was hard not to feel for Baldwin (and his family) about having a deeply embarrassing moment broadcast to the world, his P.R. campaign would have been better served by saying less, not more, about ex-wife Kim Basinger, even if he didn’t mention her by name. For example, I could’ve lived without hearing Baldwin explain how he and Basinger’s mother compare notes on the actress’s alleged efforts to keep them both estranged from Ireland; and does he somehow think he’s staying above the fray by sharing an anecdote about Ireland saying he provides a much kinder wake-up call than Basinger’s “get the hell out of that bed”? I mean, I understand Baldwin’s desire to keep his private life a private matter, but with public comments like that, he might as well try to put out a fire with a bucket of gasoline.