How Whoopi Got Her Groove Back

Article excerpt

Byline: Ramin Setoodeh

The comedian couldn't get arrested a few years ago. Now she's the most popular host on the View and a broadway-musical producer.

Of the many things George W. Bush has been blamed for, add this to the list: Whoopi Goldberg says he almost killed her career.

It all started with a joke Goldberg made at a 2004 fundraiser for John Kerry. As she recalls it, she said, "I love bush, but someone is giving bush a bad name." A pretty tame line, for Whoopi. But by the next morning the New York Post was reporting that she'd delivered "an X-rated rant full of sexual innuendos against President Bush."

Whether or not Goldberg crossed the line, doors started slamming in her face. Slim-Fast dropped her as a spokesperson. She was disinvited from the Democratic National Convention. Movie and TV roles dried up. She sold her house in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., and downsized to a Manhattan apartment (sans doorman). "I never thought living in America, especially being a comic, you could be gotten economically like that," she says. "I didn't work for years." Though it may be a stretch to pin Whoopi's career woes on that one radioactive riff, this much is certain: "It was a tough time," says her friend Billy Crystal. "You hit a certain age where it all gets hard. I think that's why The View is so good for her."

And Whoopi has been good for The View. Since she took Rosie O'Donnell's seat in 2007, the show has seen some of its best ratings. Not one to tone down her act, she regularly makes headlines for her onstage antics, like walking out on Bill O'Reilly or suggesting to Donald Trump that being a "birther" and being a racist are one and the same. …