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September 10th, 2008 Byron Beck | Queer Window
 

Heir Waves

Making fun of Martha Stewart? It’s a good thing.

     
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OH, MARTHA!: Alexis Stewart (left) and Jennifer Hutt.

“I hate Michael Phelps because he’s ugly,” says Alexis Stewart. “I’d hate him more if he were handsome.”

The last frontier of the airwaves—satellite radio—is where you pay to hear shock jock Howard Stern riff on rough sex, boobs and lesbos. But farther up the dial those are also the subjects on Whatever with Alexis & Jennifer, the Sirius satellite yack fest on Martha Stewart Living Radio with Alexis Stewart (daughter of you-know-who) and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt (daughter of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Chair Charles Koppelman).

This is not your mother’s Martha Stewart Show; in fact, it comes with a disclaimer at the start of each episode.

Going on for more than three years, Whatever has dragged the MSL brand kicking and screaming past the brink of polite society and into the realm of “real life,” where everyone isn’t quite as crafty as Martha and nothing is off limits, not even Alexis’ mom.

“Martha gets it,” says Jennifer from a Big Apple MSL conference room, where she and Alexis talked to me about their show. “Most of the time,” piped in Alexis.

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, these ladies will launch Whatever, Martha! on TV’s Fine Living Network, where they’ll take their audio jabs and apply them to TV clips of old Martha Stewart episodes like “Painting the Porch” and “Collecting Twine.” Inspired by the defunct cult-comedy classic Mystery Science Theater 3000, it was Martha Stewart herself who came up with the idea to dust off her shows and deconstruct them via off-the-cuff commentary.

“It’s completely unrehearsed,” says Jennifer about the new show. “There is no preparation,” Alexis adds. “It would change everything if we had to script it.”

Yet the ladies make sure not to go too far. Teetering between making fun of Martha’s sage advice on, say, sage, and making asses of themselves, Alexis says: “It’s not in me to really make fun of my mother. But if anybody else does it, I will beat them up.” Adds Jennifer: “That’s the reason we’re able to do this show. Only ‘authorized individuals’ can make fun of Martha because Alexis will kill anyone, other than herself, who isn’t coming from a good place. We can laugh at Martha, because we know Martha will laugh with us about the Bermuda shorts with the tucked-in long crewneck she wears to paint the porch in the first episode.”

Not everyone is keen on the twosome. The ever-sarcastic Alexis is called “cold” by media and longtime Martha fans while the more effusive Jennifer gets the “distracted” label. For some, it’s just the yappings of two spoiled, rich girls who were given a show to do “whatever” they want. But to me and others who adore these two, it’s so much more, and shows just how savvy a businesswoman Martha really is. It takes a brave woman to allow her own child to say what she wants about her on the radio and, now, television.

Besides, weeks before this interview, they both agreed to be my “friend” on Facebook.

And that, my friends, is a “good thing.”


SEE IT: Whatever, Martha! premieres on the Fine Living Network at 9 pm Tuesday, Sept. 16. Catch Whatever on Sirius Channel 112, 2-5 pm daily, whateverradio.com.
 
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