Michael Strahan's "Bittersweet" Last 'Live With Kelly and Michael' Features Laughs, Tributes
"We all came today to celebrate you," Ripa said, before joking, "We want to remind the audience that there is a run on discounted merchandise at the kiosk."
Michael Strahan co-hosted his last episode of Live With Kelly and Michael on Friday, leaving the daytime show ahead of joining Good Morning America full time in the fall.
While reports ahead of Strahan's episode indicated that the entire show wouldn't be dedicated to saying goodbye to Kelly Ripa's co-host, the duo didn't waste any time addressing Strahan's departure.
During the show intro, the announcer said, "Join us to raise a glass to remember laughs and fun times we shared on Michael Strahan's flashback farewell Friday."
Ripa, wearing a black dress, and Strahan, sporting a dark suit and purple shirt that was open at the neck, walked out to P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" and then in a reversal of their normal habit, Ripa pulled out Strahan's chair for him.
Once Ripa took a seat, she grabbed Strahan around the neck lovingly.
Her first words, though, addressed the ominous date, as the show traditionally begins with the co-hosts stating the date.
"Don't take this as a bad sign: it's Friday the 13th," Ripa said. "But you said 13 is a lucky number for you," she continued, addressing Strahan.
"It is your final day on the show," she continued, as the audience said, "Awww." "We all came today to celebrate you. We want to remind the audience that there is a run on discounted merchandise at the kiosk," she joked, lifting a "Live With Kelly and Michael" mug that she referred to as a "collector's item."
Strahan then addressed his farewell.
"It's bittersweet. Of course you get nervous," he said. "I've done this for four years, so this is a moment I didn't anticipate being here, at least at this point. But it's here and we're going to enjoy it. I'm not dying. I'm still in the family, and I'm still available to come back if I'm ever called to co-host. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not gone.
Ripa then joked, "You can fill in for me. I go on vacation in a couple of weeks.
Strahan: "I don't know about that. What do they say, 'Too soon!'?"
Strahan added that he didn't want the show to make a big fuss over him. "I don't like a big to-do about it. We come out here every morning, we make people laugh, that's what we need to do now. Get on with the show," he said.
With that they talked about what they did the night before but just a few minutes later they took their first look back, remembering some of Strahan's memorable host-chat moments, from the opening segment of the show when they traditionally talk about the news and what they did the night before and present the day's trivia contest.
The look back featured a montage of Ripa and Strahan walking out and dancing; playing jelly bean roulette, with Strahan appearing to get some unfortunate-tasting flavors; Kelly measuring his tongue; and the time Strahan accidentally gave away the answer to the trivia contest when he misheard the caller's guess.
"Gelman wants me to remind you you owe him $8,000," Ripa joked when the montage ended.
Strahan, "I really thought I heard 'bowling,' [which was the correct answer]."
After they returned from the break, they took a quick look back at more of their memorable moments together, including the two of them pretending to try out shake weights, something Ripa said she still wonders why they did.
The first Live guest, Matt Bomer, who appeared with Strahan in Magic Mike XXL, took a minute to "get a little sappy," as he called it and praise Strahan. "You always conduct yourself with great intelligence and grace, and I wish you the best," he said.
After Bomer's interview, when Live returned from its commercial break, the show played another montage of Ripa and Strahan, this time dancing.
Ripa joked there was nothing more they enjoyed than watching flashback footage of themselves.
Carmelo Anthony was the next guest.
After the interview with Anthony, Live aired a more comprehensive look back at Strahan's time on the show, starting from him being named Ripa's official co-host, replacing Regis Philbin, on Sept. 4, 2012, when as she said, he "bolted into the studio."
"We had a lot of fun, made a lot of memories and learned thing or two about Michael Strahan," Ripa continued introducing the look-back. "Michael, this is your life." The clips shown featured Strahan sporting various costumes, including him dressing up as Serena Williams and spoofing "Call Me Maybe."
The show also aired clips of the duo taking part in physical challenges, like something called a "wife-carrying competition," wrestling and Strahan lifting Ripa and Kristin Chenoweth. Strahan's take on British and French accents was also highlighted, as was his NFL Hall of Fame induction and the duo broadcasting from the White House and interviewing President Obama.
The comprehensive look back ended with footage of Ripa introducing Strahan as her co-host in 2012 and then the following words appeared on a black screen, "Farewell. Good Luck. Keep Smiling." There were no clips of Strahan or Ripa addressing his departure on Live.
As they went to break, RIpa gave Strahan a kiss on the cheek and an extended hug.
At the end of the show, Ripa presented Strahan with some gifts and toasted him with champagne as they both said some kind words about working together and Strahan's next chapter.
The gifts consisted of a pair of bronzed heels he wore during one of Live's memorable Halloween episodes, a framed photo of him wearing short-shorts, a picture that has been the subject of gentle teasing at Live and a photobook of memories for Strahan to take home.
"No matter where you go, you're always here with us," Ripa said.
"I just want to say on behalf of myself and all of us, we couldn't be prouder of you," she said. "You have given us so much joy in the mornings, from your smile to your sense of humor to your horrible French accent. We really are so, so proud of you. We've achieved so much together and I look forward to watching you every morning and seeing what else you achieve over at Good Morning America."
Strahan added, "This is very bittersweet for me. I just want to say thank you to everybody. It's amazing when you come here. You guys have let me into your homes for the past four years, every day. And I didn't know what to expect, coming from sports to daytime television. You opened up your hearts to me and homes to me. It's been so overwhelming the response we've had over the last four years that you guys love this show. It means the world that you give us an hour of your day. You don't realize we get more from that hour than you really do."
He went on to explain that he considers the live audience the third co-host and that the show's not about him or Ripa, "it's about everybody here," paying tribute to the staff.
"They make sure we're always prepared. We love you, we appreciate you," he said as music swept in. Strahan and Ripa gave each other a kiss on the cheek as the show came to an end.
Live's YouTube channel also posted a clip of Strahan and Ripa addressing the audience and each other with a few more kind words and goodbyes after the cameras stopped rolling.
At the beginning of that video, Strahan and Ripa can be seen embracing for a long hug as the audience applauds. He's whispering something in her ear, which can't be heard over the applause. When he lets go, she's smiling and says something to him.
Then they each said a few words.
"I've really enjoyed every second of it," Ripa said. "I loved watching you evolve. I really think you're so terrific and there's nothing you can't do. From hosting this show to going over to Good Morning America to doing a role in Magic Mike to ripping off your clothes, being Oprah, you can do it all. With that, I just want you to know that this is always your home base. You always have a place to come and have Thanksgiving with your dysfunctional family."
Strahan pulled her in close and said, "I really do have to thank Kelly. I mean, you changed my life. You really have. And to come in here every day and to be new to this format of TV and to learn from somebody who'd done it for 12 years before I got here, it was amazing. You are incredible. This show is going to continue to be great. Continue to watch the show."
He added, "I just want to thank you for the last four years. It's been life-changing. I love everybody. As I said, I'm not dying. I just have to wake up a little bit earlier and work a little bit longer. I really appreciate everybody. Thank you all so much. And to the staff and everybody, I love you guys. You guys have taken care of me and I'll never forget it."