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Patti LaBelle Admits She "Wanted to Slap" Fellow Guest in Viral Talk Show Moment

The singer did not appreciate the cupcake confusion during a 2008 daytime TV appearance.

During a recent appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show, Patti LaBelle looked back on some memorable moments from her career. Of course, this included things like collaborating with Diana Ross and opening for the Rolling Stones in her early days of performing. But LaBelle and host Jennifer Hudson also talked about some funny situations that have gone viral online, like LaBelle's ad-libbing at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ("next card, honey, next card!") and an infamous appearance on Tyra Banks' talk show in 2008.

In 2008, LaBelle appeared on The Tyra Banks Show and stuck around for a segment with a baker. An apparent misunderstanding between the baker and LaBelle led to a hilariously contentious moment that now has LaBelle saying, "I wanted to slap that heifer so hard." Read on to find out what else was going through her head in the viral moment.

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LaBelle and the baker couldn't get on the same page.

Patti LaBelle and Lisa Lillien on "The Tyra Banks Show"
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

During the segment on The Tyra Banks Show, Lisa Lillien, an entrepreneur who started the brand Hungry Girl, was talking about lower calorie cupcakes. LaBelle picked up one of the cupcakes, but pointed out to the audience that it had paper on it, so they would know she wasn't getting her hands all over the food.

Lillien responded, "Yeah, you can't eat the paper." When Lillien started talking to Banks again, LaBelle rolled her eyes and said, "'You can't eat the paper.' Girl, I know you can't eat the paper."

That led to another exchange, in which LaBelle said, "What makes you think I think I can eat the paper, boo?" Lillien responded, "No, no paper. Paper bad. Cake good … You're the one that wanted to eat the paper."

LaBelle told her that she was simply showing the audience that the cupcakes had paper cups on them. "I meant that I'm not touching the actual cupcake, boo," she clarified.

The segment was mocked on Saturday Night Live.


The bizarre cupcake segment became fodder for a Saturday Night Live sketch years later. During a 2020 episode, Ego Nwodim played a singer named Cookie LaFlute appearing on a daytime talk show alongside a baker played by guest host Daniel Craig. Cookie was dressed similarly to how LaBelle was on Tyra.

In the sketch, the baker tells Cookie not to eat the foil lining on a mini quiche, which kicks off a similar exchange to the one LaBelle and Lillien had. "Legends don't eat foil, boo," she tells him.

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LaBelle just addressed the cupcake confusion.

Patti LaBelle and Jennifer Hudson on "The Jennifer Hudson Show"
Jennifer Hudson Show / YouTube

During her Feb. 10 appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show, LaBelle brought up the cupcake moment when she and Hudson were talking about her viral Christmas clip.

"And then there was the one with the cupcake. The girl thought I was going to eat the paper on the cupcake," LaBelle said, and went on to essentially call Lillien an idiot. "Ooooh-wee, I wanted to slap that heifer so hard."

"She said, 'Ms. LaBelle, don't eat the paper.' I said, 'What's wrong with you, boo? I don't eat paper,'" the music legend recalled. "Anyway, there's so many moments of my life that I'm happy about. That was fun."

She also talked about the Christmas tree lighting.

Patti LaBelle and Jennifer Hudson on "The Jennifer Hudson Show"
Jennifer Hudson Show / YouTube

In 1996, LaBelle performed at the National Christmas Tree Lighting, but was surprised to find that she didn't have background singers or cue cards with the full lyrics to the song, "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway.

"Where are my background singers?" LaBelle said in the middle of the song. "And that's the wrong words on the cue cards. I don't know the song."

She then made up lyrics, famously singing, "I'm going to ad-lib all I can / Because I don't have the right words and I have no background singers."

The 78-year-old told Hudson that her singers were mistakenly kept backstage by security. "That was a messed up night, but I laughed so hard," LaBelle said. "Girl, it was natural. It was human. It was an error."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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