Kelly Ripa Makes Live! Return, Jokes About "National Nightmare"

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Kelly. Ripa. Is. BACK!

Following the most tumultuous week of her professional life, Ripa made good on her promise of returning to Live! on Tuesday morning.

Kelly Ripa Returns!

And she didn't waste any time in addressing the gap-toothed elephant in the room.

Dressed in a sleeveless red pantsuit, Ripa walked out on the set hand-in-hand with Michael Strahan.

She then stood by herself, to the right of the table, and soaked in wild applause from the audience.

“Our long national nightmare is over,” Kelly said with a smile.

“I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support in this bizarre time has been overwhelming.”

Ripa, of course, has been off the air since last Tuesday, largely in protest of how ABC waited until the last moment to inform her that Strahan would be leaving Live! in September for a full-time job with Good Morning America.

Ever since, there's been talk of whether or not ABC would cancel the program... whether Ripa would ever return... and chatter over just how badly she got along with Strahan.

“I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right,” Ripa went on to say, prior to joking that half the audience had likely called in sick to attend Live! as well.

“So, we get each other," she quipped.

Kelly went on:

“What transpired over the course of a few days has been extraordinary, in the sense that it started a much larger conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly respect in the workplace.

"And since we’re being honest, I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home.”

At various times, as you can see above, Strahan could be heard laughing and supporting Ripa off screen.

Referencing the apology she allegedly received from ABC and the subsequent long talk she had with them, Ripa added:

“Our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority."

What about Strahan?

“I am thrilled for Michael. I am thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn’t be, and we couldn’t be, prouder of you and everything we’ve accomplished together.

"This is entertainment, it’s supposed to be entertaining, so let’s get back to what we do best and start the show.”

And, with that, Ripa concluded as follows:

“My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy. And I think he’s right!”

What did you think of Ripa's speech? Did she strike the right tone? 

Will you continue to watch the show? Or did you not watch in the first place?

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