Joy Behar has been absent from The View for nearly two weeks, but on Wednesday morning, she made her triumphant return to celebrate her 80th birthday, and celebrities ranging from President Joe Biden to Bette Midler were on hand to wish her well.
After Behar filled viewers in on the highlights from her cruise around Spain and Portugal, Whoopi Goldberg joked that she timed her vacation to avoid celebrating her birthday on-air, a theory Behar insisted is "true."
"Yeah, but we don't care. We did not forget anything," replied Whoopi. With that, Jennifer Lopez's "Let's Get Loud" blared from the speakers, and the graphic behind the co-hosts transitioned to a "Happy Birthday Joy" display.
Behar seemed wholly disinterested in The View's fanfare, but she perked up when Whoopi introduced the first video from the 80-year-old's "famous friends and well-wishers." Among them, said Whoopi, is "this cat, who's a pain in the butt, but what can we do? We talk about him all the time. It's embarrassing."
As President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden appeared on screen, a legitimately shocked Behar appeared in the bottom-right corner of the frame.
"From the whole Biden family, happy birthday, Joy!" said the president. "You speak your mind. You speak from the heart. You stand up for what you believe, and you do it with warmth, humor, and authenticity. You and your friends at The View started a national conversation 25 years ago that's still going on."
"No one is better named than you," added Jill. You brought Joy to so many of your friends and admirers with your trademark humor and that smile that lights up the room."
Behar was clearly emotional throughout the Bidens' video, but she collected herself when the camera cut back to the table. "I just want to say, 'Gracias, Mr. Presidente,' and I'm assuming I'll be invited to the Christmas party this year," she said. "Thank you, very much. The Bidens. That's impressive."
Behar's celebrity friends, including Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, and Christopher Meloni, continued to appear throughout the rest of the show. Even her celebrity lookalike, Bette Midler — whom Behar said she was mistaken for on her cruise — sat down for a video tribute. "It's an honor to know you," said Midler. "You're who I wish I was. I love you."
And when guest John Lithgow sat down with the ladies, he offered her his "own personal, private Joy Behar birthday celebration," which consisted of a special poem and a caricature drawing he made for her.
The episode ended with one of Joy's favorite activities: a tag sale. Behar explained that she's auctioning off some of her personal items, from an Andy Warhol-style painting of Barbara Walters to a "vintage, decorative 'Potatoes' sign." Viewers can bid on each item online, and proceeds will go to one of Behar's favorite charities, The Retreat, a non-profit that provides support for victims of domestic abuse.
Happy birthday, Joy! 80 looks good on you.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.