My 5: Michelle Buteau Reveals Which Talk Show Hosts Have Influenced Her the Most (Exclusive)

Michelle Buteau
Mindy Tucker

What happens when a self-described sidekick gets her own podcast? Well, when it comes to Michelle Buteau, it's one very funny talk show that feels years in the making. 

Buteau, a stand-up comedian from New Jersey who has performed on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing, is known to many fans as the unofficial third queen of 2 Dope Queens. She is funny, engaging and over-the-top in the best way possible whether you're catching her onstage or chatting with her over the phone, as ET did, and that manic yet laser-focused energy will be at the forefront of her new podcast, Late Night Whenever, which debuts April 3.

"I grew up on talk shows during the day and night and that's my vibe. I want to interview celebrities and disarm them with funny stories and quips and go into the audience and see what they think and how they feel," she tells ET about what she wants her podcast to be all about. 

The bonus is that hosting a talk show is really a natural extension of the Brooklyn-based performer's comedy -- and her personality in general. In fact, she jokes that both stand-up and wanting to host a talk show isn't a "gift" so much as "an affliction because I can't not."

Late Night Whenever

"When my husband goes out with me, he's like, 'Can you stop making eye contact and talking to people about their stories? You're a friend hoarder.' I can't help it!" she explains. "I remember when I was little, my mom gave me a Cabbage Patch Kid, and I was like, 'But I need them in every nationality,' and I would concoct stories with them and shows. I even hosted a cooking show in the bathroom for a few years with my parents' products, so this is something that I've been doing for a long time."

"That's the great part about stand-up, too. You get to share your story and also connect with people you would never meet ordinarily in life and then find out that we all have something in common, or not, and laugh at our differences, and that's what I always loved about talk shows, especially talk show hosts," she adds. "I love how quick their minds are and that they can try and relate to everybody or not, and whether they're a man or a woman, they're kind of like the cool aunt that's going to put you in your place, but then also give you, like, a $1,000 gift certificate to Target and be like, 'Get your s**t together.' I do it in life, so it's so nice to actually get paid for it."

Buteau has been greatly influenced by quite a few of those angel aunts on TV. Oprah Winfrey aside (because of course she's at the top of any list), here are five of the talk show hosts that had the biggest impact on this Jersey girl who's about to join their ranks.

Sally Jessy Raphael

Sally Jesse Raphael on her talk show

"I hadn't seen anyone like that before on television that wasn't a teacher. She's just so amazing and so smart and so intuitive."

Ricki Lake

The Ricki Lake Show
The Ricki Lake Show

"I felt like I could have been friends with her in college. I couldn't wait to come home from my classes to watch her show. And, come on, any plus-size whoever owns who she is and has the audience going, 'Go, Ricki!,' is my dream."

Arsenio Hall

The Arsenio Hall Show
The Arsenio Hall Show

"It was the first time I'd ever seen someone that looked like my uncle in that position. I feel like he should definitely be getting more credit because what he was able to do and sort of break down the doors and barriers for other hosts, we don't give him enough credit."

Joan Rivers

The Joan Rivers Show
The Joan Rivers Show

"Oh my god, The Joan Rivers Show, are you kidding? I was here for it. I was like, 'Who is this sassy person?' Because I was so young, I didn't know her stand-up. I remember watching her when I came home, because I'd spend a lot of time by myself when I was home, and I was like, 'This lady is amazing.' Then for her whole career, I was just completely obsessed with her and what she was wearing."

Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams Show
The Wendy Williams Show

"Being from Jersey, I would hear her on the radio all the time. I would always call her 'Howard Stern With Brown T**ties.' She's so who she is and she doesn't apologize [for it]. When she fainted on Halloween, I wanted to go over to the studio and catch her. Love Wendy! And it's very hard doing live [television], especially live by yourself. The fact that she owns the purple chair and her wigs and her opinions, I just can't get enough. Just give me a fork, I'm eating it up."


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