Kanye West appeared on Kris Jenner’s talk show Friday for an interview that yielded two big reveals. The first: Kris Jenner, apparently, has a talk show. The second: the first photo of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby, North West.
Of course, the photo of North West was teased so much in promo clips going in and out of commercial breaks that it’s a wonder there was time for Kris to even conduct an interview with Kanye. Though, to call the conversation between Kris and Kanye—who is dating Kris’s daughter, Kim Kardashian, and is the father of her grandchild—an “interview” is the most generous of characterizations.
The episode of Kris, the final in a test run of Jenner’s talk show that has been airing for the last six weeks on five Fox stations across the country, was the equivalent of a real-life dramatization of an Us Weekly article. Jenner is hoping for a national syndication deal in 2014, and this was essentially a spoken-word press release for her unabashed willingness to prostitute her family for fame. It was the most graphic display of mutual masturbation that television has aired yet—both ridiculous and fascinating.
Kris Jenner is notorious for the admirable doggedness with which she orchestrates her family’s publicity. Convincing one of rap music’s most respected artists to engage in an hour of scripted PR about his unconditional love of a sex-tape-turned-reality-TV star, all building up to the grand unveiling of a photo of his first child may be her most despicable and, ultimately, most impressive accomplishment yet.
For her first question, Kris channeled the thought on every viewer’s mind: “Why here? Why now?” Revealing the whole stunt to be farce from the very first minute, Kanye did not answer “because you’re my girlfriend’s mother and you’re forcing me to.” Instead, he answered, “I felt this was a place I could express myself with no love and no agenda.” No agenda, of course, except getting publicity for his daughter’s baby photos.
To give Kanye credit, he came off more approachable and grounded and, you know, less douchey than he has in years. He wore simple khaki pants and a light blue button-up shirt—no leather skirts. There were no hateful tirades against the establishment. He actually smiled. Even while sputtering out the most eye-rolling lines about his new love for the Kardashian family, he was remarkably pleasant.
Still, the exchanges between Kris and Kanye were oral lunacy. “You have this love affair with my daughter,” Kris tells Kanye, and it sounds more like a threatening reminder than the lead-in to a conversation about his relationship. Kanye then tells a story about the first time he met Kim, when she was Brandy’s assistant and they were working together in a studio. (Sidebar: would anyone else have preferred watching an hour of Brandy and Kim Kardashian recalling the days when the latter was the former’s assistant?)
“She brought us something to drink that you can’t drink on daytime TV,” Kanye says, presumably talking about alcohol and presumably unaware that Kathie Lee and Hoda exist. Kris then did another one her threat-reminders. “It was love at first sight,” she tells him. Later on, it must have occurred to her that “love at first sight” may not be enough to land the cover of all next week’s gossip rags. She ups the ante. “Not to put words in your mouths but you guys are the loves of each other’s lives,” are words she then puts in Kanye’s mouth, helpfully dictating Life & Style’s next cover line.
Then there’s this fantastic segment when Kanye tries to talk about how much he loves Kim but instead epically insults her. He says, sitting six inches from Kim Kardashian’s mother, that when he started dating Kim people told him, “This is going to damage your credibility as an artist,” but he was all like, “I don’t care.” It’s what every mother dreams of hearing her daughter’s boyfriend say, that her daughter is someone so heinous that dating her ruins a man’s reputation.
The interview did offer some genuinely interesting revelations, like the fact that his dad was an accomplished photojournalist who photographed presidents. Those interesting tidbits, however, quickly spiraled into insufferable anecdotes. Kanye then talks about how his dad ranks with Steve Jobs and Walt Disney among his idols, men with the ability to link art and commercialism. That leads to, hands down, the best part of the hour.
Kanye tells Kris that, though he’s famous for being an artist and she’s famous for reasons no one’s really sure of, they are not different “brands.” The audience claps emphatically at this. (Shout-out to the self-loathing production assistant tasked with prompting Kris Jenner’s talk-show audience to applaud.) The takeaway here is that Kanye West refers to people’s personalities as their “brands.” For example says, “The only brand right now is family,” adorably and blissfully ignorant to the fact that this is a monumentally heinous thing to say.
We should all hope to one day, just as Kanye and Kim have, find someone to mix brands with.
More moments for the Hall of Shame follow. Kris tells Kanye that he and Kim “have created, with God, this family,” which is just a really unfair thing to blame on God. She totally muffs her attempt to get Kanye to say something provocative about President Obama’s diss earlier this summer, when he deplored America’s shifting values by saying there was a time that “kids weren't monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.” Then Kanye brings up his song “N****s in Paris” twice and Kris calls him “silly” for using the N word on TV.
But all of that was filler, leading up to the grand debut of baby North West. “I thought it would be really cool on her grandmother’s season finale to bring a picture of North,” Kanye says, dutifully reading the script Kris Jenner tattooed onto his hand. Then, history was made as the very first photo of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s baby was made public. A generation from now, we will reminisce over this question: Where were you the first time you saw North West?
Meanwhile on The View, which was airing at the same time, Trayvon Martin’s mother was having a moving, meaningful conversation about race and her son’s legacy with Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg. America thought about watching it, but, you know, the first pictures of Kim Kardashian’s baby and everything.