Why The Drew Barrymore Show really, really works.

Talk shows, particularly of the late night variety, have looked the same for decades.

A white, brown-haired man sits behind a desk greeting a rotating roster of celebrities who waltz in to jazz music and sit down, ready for a conversation that has been heavily pre-approved by both sides.

Of course, there are genuinely funny moments and banter that goes viral, but the concept is tired. It’s a routine that has been repeated on screen again and again, and the viewership numbers slowly slipping off are proof that we’re falling asleep on this format. 

So, as Hollywood tends to do when something is plummeting in popularity, they throw a woman into the driving seat.

Watch: Growing up with Drew Barrymore. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

We saw it with Chelsea Handler and Busy Philips – both who threw their all into their talk show gigs, and both who had their programs cancelled. Busy didn’t shy away from discussing the cancellation of her show and how pissed she was about it. She shared a monologue the day the news broke.

“Here’s the thing, you guys. My show, Busy Tonight, is not going to continue on E! They decided not to pick it up. I feel like we’ve been able to accomplish so much creatively and, I guess, culturally, and I think that we’ve had a real point of view. And I’m so proud of all of the things that we’ve done, that we’ve been able to do, and I feel the show is really successful in that way, but, you know... I don’t know what to say.”


She followed up her conversation by pointing fingers at some of the male executives behind the decision. 

“I work hard AF and love to prove people wrong and the men will always try to f**k you over so f**k em and figure out something else.”

This has been the crumbly climate for female talk show hosts, so I was surprised when the news broke that Drew Barrymore was stepping into the talk show arena. I mean, she’s an actress, not a presenter or comedian? And she’s Drew Barrymore?! A bona-fide celebrity herself. It seems almost odd to have her in the host seat, not the guest chair. 

But it happened. And it has been a raging success.

The Drew Barrymore Show debuted with a large dollop of nostalgia, with Drew dragging out her Charlie’s Angels castmates Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz for a group interview. It was just what people wanted to see – a celebrity hanging out with her celebrity friends, talking about celebrity things.

But that trope, even when you’re Drew Barrymore, can only last so long.

The show needed its own substance, style and to carve out its own certified corner of the entertainment industry to go the distance. 

So it did. In the most anti-late-night-talk-show way it could: by leaning into the loveliness. At every possible opportunity.


Rather than attempting to trip up celebrities live on air so they accidentally air their dirty laundry, Drew asked them about their feelings. What they loved. How their kids were. What it was like to exist in their rather chaotic industry. If they had house plants.

None of it was particularly groundbreaking, and it rarely made headlines – a KPI most talk shows attempt to hit. Instead it was just really wholesome. 

So wholesome, in fact, that at first it almost confused the celebrity guests. They sat down prepared for an interrogation and once the conversation started, they loosened up, their faces lit up, they joyfully shared snippets of the ‘normal’ aspects of their lives. 

And that made for seriously nice telly.

The show has been chugging away since the end of 2020, and solidifying itself as my favourite brain-smoothing television with every episode. And it’s started to break some barriers down too, with Drew having some seriously candid chats about her experience as a child star in the entertainment industry and even having her first hot flush live on air – which, rather than trying to cover it up, she announced it was happening, drew attention to it and casually sparked a global conversation by doing so.  

In opposition to my initial surprise that Drew was taking on a hosting gig, it became apparent just a few interviews in that Drew brings a perspective that so many other hosts can't. She's been through a lot, and she draws on that in her conversations. She can ask Demi Lovato about being famous at a super young age and being taken advantage off professionally and personally in that space because she's been there herself. She can get vulnerable with Jennifer Aniston about divorce because she herself has been public about her own separations. She's done the scary sharing, and that makes it a much comfier conversation for others to share too. 


Drew also cries on her talk show. A lot. 

She sobbed while talking to her ex-boyfriend, Justin Long, on air. She cried when she saw Steven Spielberg. She burst into tears when it rained. The tears have been plentiful – and thank goodness.

Because we don’t see this kind of emotion on television – especially not in the live, talk show format. That space is reserved for banter and sarcasm, not fast-flowing tears pouring out of a female face. 

And that’s why The Drew Barrymore show works. 

It’s different. It doesn’t shy away from emotion. It discusses the embarrassing, surprising and sweet with a level of cute curiosity that is frankly addictive to watch.

And I’m all for it. More tears. More wholesome chats. More loveliness. It’s what our screens are craving, and it’s a breath of fresh air amongst the smogginess of talk show telly. 

So, thanks Drew. 

Image: The Drew Barrymore Show + Mamamia. 

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