Talk-show personality Wendy Williams dropped into the Sweet & Snacks Expo in Chicago recently, thanks to her partnership with SNAX-Sational brands. She was promoting Operation Backpack, the new charity partner she's working with that gives backpacks filled with school supplies to children living in domestic-violence shelters in New York City.
Many will know Williams from her syndicated self-titled talk show that has aired since 2008. The Wendy Williams Show has been nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards and has generated successful ratings.
She began her career on the radio until she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and left radio to focus on her television show. Williams has written an autobiography, along with six other books; sold a jewelry line on QVC; and danced on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars.
On her 50th birthday her goal was to perform stand-up, which she did with a 12-city tour followed by the council of Asbury Park, New Jersey, renaming the street where she grew up as Wendy Williams Way.
Windy City Times: We talked a long time ago before your talk show even started.
Wendy Williams: Was the show just an idea? I was on the radio at that time?
WCT: Yes, you were on the radio, but you didn't have a guest booked on the talk show yet. You've come a long way, baby!
WW: And you want to know what's so funny? Back then, I didn't know about the guests. Now, 11 years later, it was 10 years on TV with six weeks of sneak-peek episodes, don't tell the celebrities, but my favorite shows have no guests.
WW: Oh my gosh, I love my co-hosts and talking to you as you are watching. I love Ask Wendy and Inside Scoop. I love the round table. I like the celebrities, too, but we have learned to make a show without them.
WCT: I remember at the beginning you mentioning a Bravo Real Housewife would be a good guest some day…
WW: Yeah! When the show first got started I fantasized about having Shia LaBeouf and the various Housewives, but they were an easy get. They weren't as big as a star back then as they are right now. Theresa Giudice in Jersey is a bigger star than Shia LaBeouf. Think about it!
WCT: Do you ever grow tired of your catchphrase "How you doin'?"
WW: No, it pays the bills. I love it. It makes everybody laugh. It's so ridiculous. The more I say it the more I laugh, too. The real way to do it is to make your lips in a triangle and you dim your eyes. How you doin'?
WCT: Are you a sweet or sour person with snacks?
WW: Honestly, I love sweet and it's got to have a hint of spice. I was looking to remix my Butterfinger popcorn with this packet from my purse.
WCT: You have hot sauce in your bag?
WW: I travel with it all the time. You never know when you are going to run into a snack. If you take hot sauce and put it on that popcorn.
WCT: Hot sauce-in-the-bag swag. That is it! What snack would you like to eat on your show? I know you drink hot tea, but would you ever have a snack?
WW: We do the cooking segments and I am not shy about my food. If I were eating constantly on the show I would be doing what I am doing now, talking and drinking.
I like the cooking segments and I am open to different kinds of food. I am also an executive producer on my show. I am approving guests. People come on to cook. I am open. They told me, "Wendy, there's a Filipino restaurant in the city." I didn't know what Filipino food was. They told me to trust them and I would love it. The guy was voted People Magazine's hottest chef. I said yes and at the very least he would look nice. He comes on the show. This was literally yesterday's show. He made three different dishes. They were so good I put them in Tupperware and brought them back to my apartment.
WCT: Do you really?
WW: Oh, please! I take a little taste. When they take away everything on the commercial break, they put it in Tupperware. When the show is over, it's on my desk.
WCT: That's smart.
WW: Yes; it's also not wasteful. Especially when they use parmesan cheese. A block of parmesan cheese is, like, $25. Do you realize that?
WCT: I didn't know that.
WW: They will use it for cooking decoration during a segment and I'm, like, "Tupperware, please…"
WCT: Gay Pride is coming up. What do you want to say to all of your gay fans?
WW: The usualhow you doin'? I love the Rainbow Coalition. I called them that long before Jesse Jackson. Now he has the Rainbow Coalition, which means something different. I am very into the LGBT community. I have never ridden a float in the parade and never been asked in any city anywhere. Can you believe that?
WCT: We need to get you in for Chicago's Pride Parade.
WW: Look, the thing is [to not] beg. I am just sitting here waiting. I'll wait.
WCT: I will spread the word.
WW: Don't beg on my behalf. I have the love no matter what. Let me tell you something. I fantasize about what I would wear on top of a float during a Pride Parade.
WW: Of coursesequins! I would have a replica of my purple chair. I would make sure they play club hits and would bring my own DJ. You don't want me at your parade? Fine. I will watch on TV like I usually do. The New York one comes on TV.
WCT: I don't think the organizers know you are available.
WW: I think they know I'm available. I'm on TV every day! Look at my audience. There's men, there's women and a strong Rainbow Coalition!
WCT: I traveled to New York and saw your show as an audience member.
WW: You did? Awww.
WCT: I won some books for singing The Facts of Life theme song during the warm-up.
WW: [Both sing] "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life." Wowyou are gay.
WCT: I'm never going to forget this. Would you ever do more Broadway?
WW: Yes, but I have decided the best character I can play is me, or somebody close to me. Let me play a talk-show host and change my name to Pendy Pilliams to throw people off.
I would. I enjoyed doing the musical Chicago a whole lot. It was really tedious. I was very dedicated.
WCT: It's a lot of work.
WW: I was doing the talk show at the time, so it was six nights a week, eight shows a week. It was a lot to do the show with it.
WCT: What are you working on next?
WW: I go back to work tomorrow. On Memorial Day weekend, I am fixing up the closet and making a whole new one. Everyone will be out on their boats and at the beach. I figure summer weekends with the holidays are for amateurs. I'm a serious beachgoer. I will just wait until the holiday is over and then go to the beach with the pros.
WCT: You haven't changed a bit since the first time I interviewed you.
WW: Thank you!