By Tanner Stransky
Updated November 27, 2008 at 11:48 PM EST
Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Live from New York… it was Rosie! Last night marked Rosie O’Donnell’s return to television, and—my ohhh my—it was one of the most surreal shows to flash on my screen in a long time. A glittery Liza Minelli opening the show with a overblown rendition of “City Lights”? Check. Jane Krakowski striptease? Check. Pop-by cameos from Clay Aiken, Rachael Ray, and Harry Connick Jr.? Check, check, check. Literally, a gay old time was had by all. (Honestly, with additional appearances by Ne-Yo, Gloria Estefan, and Kathy Griffin, could the hour of television have been any gay-friendlier?)

And who’s that there in the photo here with a pie on his face? None other than Conan O’Brien—a good sport if I’ve ever seen one. He got pied by—whaddaya know? another NBC star!—a very funny Alec Baldwin, who did a semi-ironic bit where he had to keep talking into Rosie’s mic, which incidentally was attached right by her breasts. A bit like that could have gone into too-randy-for-8 p.m. territory, but I’m happy to report that it was anything but. After all, with this show, Rosie is attempting to get back to those “Queen of Nice” days of yesteryear, after her recent, rage- and politics-fueled stint on The View. With only one mention of politics (her screaming “BARACK OBAMA!” during the monologue), Rosie kept it all rather silly and light-hearted. Which was fitting in the crazy days we live in and, especially, on Thanksgiving eve. Overall, while the show was insanely surreal (remember, Liza was there!), I thorougly enjoyed seeing Rosie back on TV.

As a huge Kathy Griffin fan, my favorite part of the evening was her appearance as Nancy Grace, who was hell bent on taking Rosie to task. I don’t usually see the comedian doing such dolled-up impressions, so that was quite the treat. Can she please be a regular on the show? Or maybe the solution is more installments of Life on the D-List.Or mini installments of D-List during future editions of Rosie Live! Yes, that’s it!

Meanwhile—and not to be Grinch-y—but I sort of despised that overblown, too too closing number. Why’d Rosie need Gloria Estefan to do that weird holiday homage? And dancing desserts? Really? I realize these type of variety shows are supposed to be over-the-top and all, but save some of that camp for round two. Please.

Speaking of what I loved and hated, PopWatchers, what’d you love from Rosie Live last night? What’d you hate? Would you watch something like this weekly? Monthly? Do you think a show like this more about the guests—or about Rosie? Take a break from the leftovers and leave a comment or two!

addCredit(“Virginia Sherwood/NBC”)