Sherri Shepherd is opening up about her time co-hosting the Emmy-winning daytime talk show “The View,” which she describes as a “very painful” experience.
Previously, Shepherd, who now hosts her eponymous talk show “Sherri,” sat on a panel with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and the show’s creator Barbara Walters between 2007 and 2014.
During an interview on the “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” podcast, Shepherd told Hill that she struggled during her early years on the show because she lacked confidence and felt insecure in her new role.
After Hill asked Shepherd what she was the most insecure about, the talk-show host said talking about politics.
“Politics, talkin’ back, getting my opinion out there,” she said around mark 0:12 of the interview. “I came from a very strict religious background. Number one, you didn’t debate. Number two, you accepted everything that people said,” said Shepherd.
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“A lot of times when Barbara would say, ‘Why do you feel this way?’ and a lot of times my answer was, ‘I don’t know. That’s what my pastor said.’ We were taught not to ask questions.”
The “Ride Along 2” actress also explained that she was used to not questioning her elders and was intimidated to sit at a table with such accomplished women and give her opinion.
Shepherd also noted that she was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and didn’t know what the three branches of government were, nor did she vote.
“I had to just learn politics, and it was very hard for me, because I got into a lot of trouble. I said things.”
Shepherd says that after five months on the show, she was told by Walters that she needed to start reading up on politics and current events because Black women hated her on the show.
“Barbara said, ‘You gotta read, Sherri. You gotta be able to explain why you believe the way you believe. You can’t just say Well, ‘cuz that’s what I learned in church.’ “
The stand-up comic went on to say she was also dragged for her opinions on the show by Charlemagne tha God and Howard Stern.
“It was a very painful period of growing and learning publicly about things which I never talked about,” she said around mark 2:40. “Politics. Why I believe what I believe. Standing up for my opinion.”
The 56-year-old said she also experienced heckling from things she said on the show, which had a much-bigger impact than the reactions she would get from being on comedy stages.
“The backlash you can get on ‘The View’ from saying things affects your career. So I can deal with a heckler on stage because its very quick and very in the moment.”
She continued, “It was so many times I would cry and go, ‘but gosh, if they just knew my heart.’ But those times where I fell really made me go, ‘What do I think about life?’ What do I know?”
Shepherd said for three years, she cried, struggled and fell publicly, but also grew into her confidence. Shepherd also credited Walters for helping her become more confident and for telling her that what came out of her mouth had to mean something.
“It was the best seven seasons of my life,” she concluded. “It was the best experience I’ve ever had. Even with all the mistakes and the falls and the tears it’s why I am who I am today.”
“Sherri” airs weekdays on FOX.