When Queen Elizabeth recovers from the weekend’s festivities, she should consider granting Cord Hosenbeck an honorary knighthood.
The exuberant announcer, who looked a lot like Will Ferrell in a bald cap, did the monarchy proud Saturday, recognizing the union of American actress Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry as the biggest milestone intertwining the two countries since Gwyneth Paltrow married Chris Martin of the band “Coldcuts.” When the new couple approached the gates of Windsor Castle, he celebrated with a beatbox version of the theme from “Sanford and Son.”
Co-starring Ferrell’s old “SNL” partner Molly Shannon, “The Royal Wedding Live With Cord and Tish” may have been HBO’s attempt at satire, but at times it was hard to differentiate the 90-minute special from the coverage offered by real broadcasters, who apparently tossed their journalism credentials into the River Thames.
ABC anchor David Muir pulled out his phone to snap a picture of the bride’s burgundy Rolls-Royce and, after spotting Victoria Beckham among the guests, wondered if the rest of the Spice Girls might pop up. Sadly, they didn’t, but ABC’s Robin Roberts seemed content spying on Idris Elba and Serena Williams, dying to know what the two stars were chatting about.
CBS’ Gayle King sounded as if she’d just been handed the Pentagon Papers while reporting on the fact that Harry had personally picked flowers from the royal garden. When the couple’s carriage headed toward NBC’s Al Roker, he screamed Markle’s name three times like a schoolboy hearing the bell from an approaching ice-cream truck.
CBS’ Vladimir Duthiers, who won two Emmys for covering the 2010 Haiti earthquake, admitted without a smidgen of shame that the hair on the back of his neck went straight up the moment Harry turned to his bride at the altar and cooed the word, “Hi.”
This kind of behavior would earn you an “F” at any worthwhile journalism school. But less than 24 hours after a school shooting that left 10 dead in Texas and the constant dissection of President Donald Trump’s public pronouncements, the media clearly was desperate for a break.
If that meant putting on goofy hats and swooning over a B-list TV actress and a dude that will never be king, so be it.
Even mentions of a possible terrorism attack were tempered.
“I have never seen nicer people with machine guns,” said CBS’ Kevin Frazier, referencing the tight security that lined the streets of Windsor.
The newscasters may have been trying to escape from reality, but they were clearly betting that the public wanted that, too. They have the numbers to back it up.
Prince William’s 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton drew 3 billion viewers around the globe. TV Guide ranks the 1991 marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles as one of the 60 greatest news moments ever captured on screen.
And nearly 2 billion tuned in Saturday, even though the nuptials carried less weight than the previous two.
“This is such a positive note that I think a lot of people felt they needed right now,” said Roker after calming down from his “near encounter” with the bride.
Even the ceremony flowed with the kind of spirit usually tamped down in the presence of perennial party pooper Queen Elizabeth. Thank Markle for insisting on a gospel choir that rocked out — at least by royal standards — to Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and ushering so many children into St. George’s Chapel that the church could have passed for a day care center.
Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, evoked Martin Luther King Jr. in an all-you-need-is-love sermon that should land him a TV deal by Tuesday.
You expect a certain amount of irreverence from the E! Network, and it didn’t disappoint, with Giuliana Rancic asking her panel to speculate on what was in the queen’s purse. But the former “Fashion Police” chief refrained from dissing the wardrobe choices, despite a collection of hats that would have stuck out even at the Kentucky Derby.
If we ever needed Kathy Griffin to be granted a day pass from show-biz jail, it was Saturday.
But perhaps Ferrell and Shannon were the more appropriate court jesters. The “Saturday Night Live” veterans specialize in the kind of gentle, good-natured humor that was missing from Michelle Wolf’s script during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
No one on Twitter is going to be upset at Cord for revealing that the royal wedding had to be over in an hour to make way for two other weddings scheduled later that day, or at London insider Sir Albert (Kristen Wiig) for dishing on the reception’s top-secret invite list that supposedly included Ray Liotta and the star of “Young Sheldon.”
Silly? You bet. But no sillier than waking up at 4:30 a.m. to shed happy tears for a couple that will never send you a thank-you card.
“This helped us escape the monotony and hideousness of our own lives,” said “Cord and Tish” correspondent Tim Meadows, wrapping up his report from the field.
Al Roker couldn’t have said it better himself.