Wallace “Explains” Imus Jest

about Sarah Palin to an uncomfortable Gretchen Carlson. As Fox & Friends co-anchor Brian Kilmeade observed, Chris Wallace’s promo for Fox News Sunday on F&F Friday”was as awkward as ever.” After Chris previewed his show which includes the first FNS interview of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, co-host Steve Doocy asked Wallace about his controversial comment on Imus Thursday. Steve remarked, “Chris…normally during our time together, it is Brian that asks the embarrassing question of you. However, I saw online that you said…yesterday when queried whether or not you would do the interview with Sarah Palin on your lap, you said [that] you hope so.”*

Before Wallace could respond, co-host Gretchen Carlson, aghast, exclaimed, “What!” Steve replied, “It’s true.” Wallace retorted, “No, no…What happened was [that] I was on Imus, which was my first mistake, and he said to me at the end, just kidding around, ‘So when you do the interview with her, will she be sitting on your lap?’ And I said, ‘One could hope.’…I thought it was funny at the time.”

Clearly, not amused, Gretchen shook her hand and queried, “Why would he ask such an inane question?” Steve interjected, “I think it was a great question!” As Wallace laughed and both Brian and Steve smiled, a rather outraged Gretchen queried, “Do you ask that of a man?” Wallace stuttered, “Would he have asked me of a man?” With palms upraised, an incredulous Gretchen responded, “Yeah. [Whether a man] would sit on your lap.”

Wallace riposted, “I don’t know. Let me ask you a question. Would you do an interview with Brad Pitt, you sitting on his lap, Gretchen?” “Absolutely not. I find nothing hot about Brad Pitt.” Wallace persisted, “Oh, okay. Oh, and, how ’bout Brian Kilmeade if you sat on his lap?” Rubbing her upper lip uncomfortably and, apparently, trying to skirt the question about her and her colleague, Gretchen replied, “Who?”

Meanwhile, Brian, shaking his head and looking down, only somewhat facetiously interposed, “Hey, let me just say this. Chris Wallace, that as I pointed out–Gretchen, very good move saying, ‘Who?’–Chris, we’re a news show. I don’t know about this lap thing. We got facts, people need to get information, [and] I don’t need the color and stuff. So, this whole thing about socializing and the behind-the-scenes stuff, it has no place.” Under his breath, Steve muttered, “Oh. Wow.” Wallace sarcastically responded, “What, what the heck happened to you? Have the drugs [unintelligble] finally, Brian?

From his off-set Ft. Lauderdale perch, a salty Brian asked, “By the way, what are you [Wallace] wearing?” Trying to bring that topic to a quick close, Steve interjected, “He’s wearing his Chris Wallace outfit.” However, the producers, apparently, were not quite ready to do so and began to play Austin Powers-like theme music. Playing along, Wallace jested, “Are you talking about now or for the interview with Sarah Palin?” Before Brian could respond, Steve interjected, “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!”

Then, as Steve concluded the promo, Wallace declared, “Get me outta here!” “Me, too!” cried Gretchen. Smiling Brian added, “Yeah. That was as awkward as ever. I’ll miss Chris.”

Wallace is certainly not apologizing for his Imus comment. Will Sarah Palin respond to him tomorrow? If so, will she be as outraged as Gretchen with the ribald banter?

Fox & Friends (02/05/10) – @8:36 a.m. ET

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