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As Good As It Gets
Staff Writer | Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco | May 20, 2013
Kids for sale (cheap!), a husband who’s having a little too good a Morning and a wiener dog up on a roof. Nothing happens in the life of comedian Ali Wentworth—George Stephanopoulos’ better half—that she can’t turn into something funny.
REAL HOUSEWIFE, MEET REAL 10-YEAR-OLD
People have this misconception that I’m just crazy funny all the time at home. Of course, I’m not like that all the time—there are times when George is Don Rickles and I’m the serious one. But lately I’m finding that my funny moments come from interacting with my children. And it’s not necessarily me who’s being funny.
For instance, I have a show on Yahoo! called The Daily Shot, and not long ago the kids were on spring break—again—for the 80th week. (They never go to school. I don’t understand private school.) So one morning I brought them to work and said to them, “You know, you have to be really quiet so you can sit and watch me tape.” They were in the studio and I was talking to one of the Housewives of New Jersey, because she had a book out about parenting. I said, “Give me one good parenting tip.” She’s like, “Never pit your kids against each other. Never say that one’s better than the other.” And I go, “Oh, of course. I would never do that.” My daughter, Elliott, screamed on the set, “You do it all the time!” It became Jerry Springer all of a sudden and I couldn’t get her off camera.
My kids are just really funny—and they’re also really honest. They’ll say to me, “You know, you should really get rid of those brown spots on your face,” or, “Please, Mommy, when are you going to start dieting?” They’re not trying to be mean, they just have no filter, so their comments put me to bed for four hours.
GIVING AS GOOD AS I GET
My idea of a good parenting tip is to use humor. I actually find it effective with my kids. So when somebody else might yell, I try to be funny about how ridiculous they are. If we’re walking down the street and one of them is acting out or whining, I’ll stop a couple and say, “Listen, I don’t know if you have children, but if you want some, or maybe want more, right now I’ll give you my 7-year-old daughter for $10.” And everybody will start laughing. It doesn’t work for everything, but it breaks the moaning or the acting out right away.
MY HUSBAND’S NOT IMMUNE TO MY RIBBING, EITHER
One of my favorite things to do when George is filming Good Morning America is to email him a lot during the show and say, “OK, you can stop staring at Kim Kardashian!”—just sort of rip him in a way, which is a great pastime for me. I’m in pajamas, eating Cheerios, just giving him a really hard time from afar.
THAT SUMMER GEORGE WAS IN THE DOGHOUSE
We just bought a place in Southampton, but George and I have moved around a lot within the Hamptons. Early on, we—the two of us and a dachshund named Gilbert—had this house on Mill Hill Lane in East Hampton that was like our starter house. We got it when we were first married and I was pregnant, and we loved that house. The next summer we sold it and rented a house in Amagansett—like, almost Montauk, way, way, way out on the beach. Our funniest Hamptons memory took place that summer. One day, George came back from the beach and said, “I lost Gilbert.” (By the way, what husband comes back and says, “I lost the dog”?)
I said, “Well, why aren’t you still out there looking for him?” So he’s like, “I don’t know, I think I saw him walk into the surf,” and I thought, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You’re saying that our dachshund, Gilbert, decided, “You know what? I’m done with life. I’m just going to walk into the ocean?” We couldn’t find him anywhere; the girls and I started making posters and calling animal rescue.
The next night, there was this horrific lightning storm, and of course I was crying all night in bed, thinking, “He’s out there lost in the wild, and he’s the size of a mango.” Three days went by, then we were having lunch with Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld when we got a call from someone who said, “Look, I’m sure this isn’t your dog, but there’s a dog on the roof of Guild Hall in East Hampton.” So George said, “I’ll go check it out.” We thought, there’s no way—that’s, like, 25 miles away from the house we were renting.
George went out there and called me and said, “It’s Gilbert. He’s on the roof of Guild Hall.” And we realized that he’d been trying to make his way back to the only house in the Hamptons he’d ever really known. George came back to pick me up at lunch and Jerry stood up from the table and went, “I gotta see this dog! He walked 25 miles and ended up on the roof of Guild Hall!” We don’t know how he even got up on the roof. Ya can’t ask a dog questions.