BootLeg Betty

BetteBack June 9, 1997: New Fox talk show host Ruby Wax gets comfortable with guests

New Castle News
June 9, 1997

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Kissy red lips practically pressed to the screen, body bent low in a puppy-dog grovel, celebrity interviewer Ruby Wax begs you not to
touch that remote.

“You’ll really like me in a few minutes,” she half-whines, half-wisecracks.

“Three minutes, max.” Yup, three minutes will be enough for you to decide whether “The Ruby Wax Show” (8:30 p.m. Mondays on Fox, atarting today) is your cup of whatever. By that time, Wax has already gushed over Pamela Anderson Lee’s famous accessories, disparaged her own (“After you have children … your breasts will leave you and try to run away”) and generally behaved like the woman your mother either warned you not to become or dreaded you’d bring home, depending.

The feverishly wacky Wax only appears to have been suckled by wolves. Actually, she’s a Midwestern homegirl from Evanston, 111., who w ent to G reat B ritain to become an actress and stayed on to become a hit talk-show host, combining Barbara Walters’ ability to
Corral celebs with a pedal-to-themetal vulgarity that might make Patsy and Edina of “Absolutely Fabulous” blush.

Her American debut finds her capering on the beach with Lee and other “Baywatch” babes, giggling with Goldie Hawn in a posh English hotel and shopping with Bette Midler at London’s Harvey Nichols boutique, a favorite haunt of the wild women of “AbFab,” for which Wax was once a writer.

Lee clearly doesn’t get Wax. When Ruby playfully asks Pamela if she can be her “Baywatch” body double, Lee snaps, “OK, but don’t tell anyone.” The fact that she’s also willing to lick Wax’s face, demonstrating how she got to know husband Tommy on their first date, doesn’t quite excuse her.

Hawn, though, is delighted to roll around in the deluxe hotel sheets with Wax for a two-girl pajama-party, and Midler obligingly greets puzzled shoppers, bursts into song on the down escalator and instructs Wax on how to select the perfect pineapple.

To say that the talk gets risque is to put it mildly. In fact, apart from Midler’s don’t-miss discourse on her days in the pineapple canning factory back in Honolulu — tough girls with knives were the trimmers, sissies like her were the canners — barely a minute goes by without a reference to body parts and all the fun things you can do with them.

That makes the show an eyebrowraising choice for its time slot. I got a giggle or three out of raunchy Ruby, but, frankly, Fox deserves all the flak it’s going to get for airing this summer show this early in the evening.

I also wish the perfectly presentable Wax weren’t hellbent on reviving the old Phyllis Diller school of I-hate-my-face-and-my-body-iseven-worse humor, which no male comic has ever embraced with such ferocity. After the third plastic surgery joke and the second boob bon mot, enough’s enough.

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