By Michael Slezak
Updated June 01, 2006 at 07:30 PM EDT

How do you spin a series of depressing anecdotes into pure comedy? Hand ’em over to Vince Vaughn (pictured) and Kelly Ripa. The suddenly ubiquitous star of The Break-Up subbed for a vacationing Regis Philbin on this morning’s Live With Regis and Kelly, and once he got his 6-foot-5 frame accustomed to the set’s dimensions (”Bits of Vince can’t fit under the desk!” Ripa cheekily observed), the duo settled into a comfortable, if somewhat morose, comic groove. To wit:

-Ripa got the audience chuckling with a story about her son Michael breaking his arm the previous day during a game of Red Rover. (”Something had to give,” Vaughn said, ”and it wasn’t his pride.”)

-Asked by Ripa if he’d ever fractured any bones, Vaughn began to share a tale of a boyhood auto accident, then stopped short and pretended to get misty-eyed in a mock display of daytime-interview emotion.

-Guest Denis Leary explained how his not terribly bright dog died after gorging on 28 pounds of deer meat (!), an account that, unfortunately, didn’t prompt some much-needed follow-up questions from his hosts.

-And American Idol third-place finisher Elliott Yamin (who sounded amazing on ”Moody’s Mood for Love,” natch) got in on the act, too, revealing that his adorable mom is recovering from hip surgery — then teasing the hosts that she wasn’t recovering very well.

-At one point, Ripa called for an end to the emoting, declaring such shtick as strictly Oprah territory. ”We don’t help people here!” she shouted. But occasionally, they do make for some wacky-good morning TV.

addCredit(“Vince Vaughn: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images”)