July 22, 2023
Press: Drew Barrymore Lights Up Daytime

Drew Barrymore is barreling barefoot down the hallway to make it to the studio on time. It’s a Wednesday morning in April, and this is the first of today’s two episode tapings for The Drew Barrymore Show. The screams from audience members at Studio 41 get louder as the emcee whips them into a frenzy — Drew is right there! She can hear you! — before leading them in an increasingly rapid call-and-response: “Are you ready?” “Yeah!”

Her costume designer, Lee Harris, is waiting at the threshold with chunky beige platform heels. This is a variation of her daytime uniform: a pantsuit with legs so wide you could strap a child to each calf, a silk blouse with a pussy bow, and thick pumps. “Feel that,” she tells Harris, lifting the leg of her pants to reveal smooth, hairless skin. (She finally had time to shave.) “Ooh, once in a lifetime,” he replies as he buckles her shoe. “Rossy!” she yells, and the hilarious Ross Mathews, her co-anchor on “Drew’s News,” appears by her side. As she wets a Q-tip with her tongue to do a final check on her eyeliner in the mirror, she launches into a thought about his New York apartment, which she redesigned as part of “Designed by Drew,” an interior-decorating segment on the show. “I’m questioning the mirror I got you for the dining room,” she says. The size is right, but she feels the cream-and-gold frame is fighting with the floral wallpaper. So maybe something grassy? Anyway, 20 seconds! They dive into the crowd.

The major event of the day is an interview with Jennifer Garner, whose birthday Barrymore wants to celebrate. She describes Garner as a woman who “really saved” her. In 2016, soon after Barrymore divorced Will Kopelman, her husband of four years and the father of her two children, Garner began her separation from Ben Affleck. Barrymore saw her as a model of how to comport yourself in public, and she and her producers have pulled out all the stops: Here’s a key to your hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, with a video message from the mayor declaring April 17 Jennifer Garner Day! Here’s a $250,000 donation to the charity Save the Children! A chocolate cake! A balloon drop!

“I certainly am!” Barrymore whispers back.

After Garner leaves and the crew resets the stage for the next segment, Barrymore has a private chat with the audience — no cameras rolling. She has some things she wants to confess, like maybe she screwed up the interview they just watched. “I will just be totally honest with you guys,” she says. “Making this show makes me have these personal whirlwinds. Like, I really want to make a very personal show, and I totally fucking spiraled after Jennifer Garner.”

Negative voices started whirring around in her head, she explains, telling her she was making a mess of everything because she’s a messy person: Bad Drew Barrymore! Meanwhile, Garner is this poised 51-year-old woman who made it through a painful divorce with grace and dignity and fantastic posture. Then Barrymore started thinking if she focused too much on how she’d fucked it up, she would want to run away and cry, but she couldn’t do that because she’s at work! So she would feel her feelings here, come what may. “Like, there’s nothing I can do but just walk through it and feel my own discomfort,” she says. “And hope I didn’t put anyone else in an uncomfortable situation.”

The shouts start coming: No, Drew! We love you! You’re awesome! You’re awesome!

She takes it in. “Does anyone ever have those episodes where, like, all of a sudden nothing they can do is right and everything is just more evidence about what a crazy weirdo you are?” she asks.

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