Hours before the announcement that actor Will Ferrell would not star in a smear film portraying Ronald Reagan as a dementia-addled invalid, the women of The View discussed the potential movie. Liberal co-host Joy Behar insisted that the concept could be making a “larger point” and also repeated a smear about the 40th president.
Speaking of Ferrell, she sneered, “He might be making a larger point about the fact that the man was in office with Alzheimer's and that reflects our political system to a T.” In reality, Reagan wasn’t diagnosed with the disease until 1994, five years after he left office. An October 5, 1997 New York Times piece explained, “Mr. Reagan ‘absolutely’ did not 'show any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's,’ said Dr. John E. Hutton Jr., who cared for him from 1984 until the end of his Presidency.”
Showing her ignorance on the subject, Behar insisted that the “Reagan kids” are speaking out and listed “Maureen” [Reagan] as an example. Maureen Reagan died in 2001 and did not put out a statement in 2016.
The co-host also incorrectly suggested that Ferrell definitely will “do” the Reagan movie. Hours later, the comedian announced he would not.
The rest of the View crew seemed to disagree with Behar. Paula Faris told her: “I feel like being a comedian gives you a licence to be a jerk.” Asked by co-host Sunny Hostin if “some things are off limits,” Behar huffed, “I think it's up to me to decide that. I make a decision [as a comedian].”
A partial transcript of the April 29 segment, which aired at 11:07am ET, is below:
JOY BEHAR: Will Ferrell, the very funny Will Ferrell, his latest reported role as President Ronald Reagan has a lot of people very mad at him, because it's a satire about Reagan starting to show the effects of Alzheimer's during his second term in office. Now, the Reagan kids, Maureen [sic] and Michael, I don’t know about Ron, Jr., Patti for sure, they are slamming him saying this is not a laughing matter. Now, we haven't read the script. So, we don't know. But it is a satire. Do you think there is anything off limits in comedy? I'm asking you?
SUNNY HOSTIN: There should be. I have had this discussion with Whoopi and I have had this discussion with you, Joy. I feel like sometimes things should be off limits. Sometimes jokes are just too soon. And my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's before she died and it's no laughing matter when you're experiencing that with a member of your family.
BEHAR: But maybe he's making a larger point. Maybe — We don't know what the movie is about. He might be making a larger point about the fact that the man was in office with Alzheimer's and that reflects our political system to a T.
CANDACE CAMERON-BURE: I feel the same way as you. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and dementia.
HOSTIN: Isn’t it hard?
CAMERON-BURE: It’s heartbreaking, because you're looking at a person that you have known your whole life and they look like a shell of a human being and they don’t remember anything. It’s a horrible, horrible thing to experience.
RAVEN-SYMONE: But when you’re going through that, don’t you want to smile?
HOSTIN: No. I don’t want it to be poked fun.
PAULA FARIS: There's a chance this won't even make it. There's no director has signed on. No studio has agreed to do this.
BEHAR: He'll do it.
FARIS: We have had this issue, too. I feel like being a comedian gives you a license to be a jerk.
BEHAR: It depends on how funny it is. It depends on how funny it is.
FARIS: No, I’m just saying. You can get away with anything.
BEHAR: I’ll tell you something, if it's anything like what he did to George Bush, it will be brutal. ‘Cause Ferrell does not take prisoners.
HOSTIN: Do you think some things are off limits though, as a comedian? Is anything off limits?
BEHAR: I think it's up to me to decide that. I make a decision. I don't offend the little guy. I go after powerful people.