Duck-voiced veteran showbiz reporter Pat O'Brien will never fully escape the looming shadow of the Let's Get Crazy Get Some Coke voice mail, the shocking nasty-talk contained therein forever tarnishing the integrity of his fine work on countless fawning Jamie Foxx profiles and Anna Nicole Smith C-section video narrations. He entered rehab shortly after, then again in 2008, at which point Donny Osmond was pulled in to replace him—but after Osmond refused the position, O'Brien returned to his post. He's since seen his role on the show steadily diminish: His face and name have disappeared from the website, co-host Lara Spencer has now taken on full-time hosting duties, and O'Brien has been made a "correspondent," dispatched to far flung regions to interview those Guinness oddities The Insider loves so much, like the World's Anorexiest Twins and The Oklahoman Grandma with No Epidermis. From one of those assignments—he was sent to interview America's Most Caribou-Dressing-Illiterate VP Candidate Joe Biden—came the following e-mail, sent to the entire staff of ET and The Insider:
"Hi, folks, I just spent a couple of days in Iowa - I'm a little bit of a favorite son there - and I spoke with maybe a thousand people and was very hands-on. Even Joe Biden said, 'You should be running (for president)!' But what I came away with was, these people can't afford gas, books, food or schools or movies!
"I was approached a hundred times by people asking, 'Can you help us?' I tried to tell them we care, but they didn't buy it. They wanted to, but watching Anya and Lara [Spencer] pick out accessories makes the viewers want to vomit. I'll get killed for this, but I'm actually the one not afraid for my job. I want people to be happy." [...] Of the e-mails, he explained to Page Six, "I'm trying to create a discourse. The American people want honesty. I just raged against the machine. We can change the world."
Yes We Can! While many might chalk this missive up to petty workplace politics, we prefer to think that O'Brien emerged from his tete-a-tete inside the Obama camp with legitimately renewed optimism for the power of a syndicated entertainment news magazines to save the world. Why squander their electronic pulpit with worthless advice on where to find affordable chunky knits for fall, then, when they could easily use that segment to focus on Brad Pitt's worthy adventures cruising through a flooded lower Texas in an airboat, ruminating out loud about affordable and lightweight housing construction?