Kelly Ripa Insists Thanksgiving Eating 'Should Happen at Dinner Time' Instead of the Afternoon

On Friday's Live with Kelly and Ryan, host Kelly Ripa weighed in on the controversial Thanksgiving debate — and found an ally in guest Kevin Hart

kelly ripa
Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Kelly Ripa has chosen her side on one of Thanksgiving's biggest battles.

Every year, the debate rages on at homes across America as to when exactly is the perfect time to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

Some households begin serving food in the early afternoon, typically between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Others wait until traditional dinner time, around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. or even 7 p.m., while some who experience longer-than-usual cooking times might not eat until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.

The Atlantic drew down the line back in 2018, declaring "the correct time" to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Factoring in things like tradition and etiquette, plus cook and rest time for the turkey, as well as the Thanksgiving Day arc — anticipating one's meal, eating, digesting, napping, and then returning for late-night snacks — they determined 4 p.m. balanced all of ones' Thanksgiving needs.

Well on Friday, Ripa made her stance clear.

On Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Emmy-winning talk show host and mother of three, 51, told co-host Ryan Seacrest that The Atlantic — and anyone who ate as early as 4 p.m. — was "all wrong."

"Thanksgiving dinner is dinner which means it should happen at dinner time," Ripa said. "Dinner should be late!"

"I do not understand everyone's obsession with having Thanksgiving dinner at 2 p.m.," she continued. "Then you're hungry at 6 p.m and 7 p.m. and 8 p.m, and then you're eating, and then you're binging, and then you're having leftovers, and then God forbid you don't make a turkey soup the next day, and then you have to make your turkey omelet the [next] morning..."

Ripa had an ally in guest Kevin Hart, who fully agreed with her.

"We're Black so we go late. We're not an early eat family," the comedian said. "It's very weird because this is the only time where I see race play a factor, because I do have friends of other ethnicities and dinner's at like, 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. And I'm like, 'Who does that?' I don't understand, who eats that early?"

When Seacrest said he ate Thanksgiving dinner at 2:30 p.m., Hart got animated — so much so that Seacrest joked Hart looked like he was "ready to launch across the set."

"You eat at 2:30 p.m.? Are you kidding? Dinner is at like 8. We eat at 8 p.m.! And before that, you drink!" Hart said. "I really got upset right now! I will literally fight you! Oh my God, I would be so upset [if I had to eat that early]."

His enthusiasm left Ripa in good spirits.

"Thank you, I am validated today because these monsters all are like, '2 p.m!' " Ripa said. "When I send out the email, 'Cocktails at 6 p.m.' people are like, '6 p.m.? We're going to have to eat early!' "

"5 p.m. or 6 p.m. is respectable," Hart said.

Thanksgiving turkey dinner

Thanksgiving is a "big holiday" in the Hart household, he also told Ripa and Seacrest on Friday's Live with Kelly and Ryan.

"At the Hart household, Thanksgiving is unreal," the father of four said. "It's festive, it's conversation, it's banter, it's music, it's dancing — it's big. It's actually one of my favorite holidays. I don't cook, though."

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Asked what he does by Seacrest, Hart teased, "I don't do a damn thing. I don't do nothing, Ryan. I'm there!"

"We are Thanksgiving compatible," Ripa laughed.

Now that the dinner time was settled, another Thanksgiving debate was brought up on the show: to buffet or serve food "all around."

In that conflict, Ripa said she typically chooses to do a buffet — though last year, that got her in trouble when her dog Chewie had a field day on the table while Ripa and her guests gushed over Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani's son Wyatt.

"It was his first Thanksgiving and ... when the baby came in, everyone was making a big fuss over the baby and none of us noticed that Chewie got up on the table and was eating the ham."

The ham, Ripa said, was from The Art of Eating cookbook and was "a thing of beauty," Ripa joked.

"I didn't make it,' she said. "It's like the stuff they make when they show the ham in the movie. It looks like that. It has the scoring and the fruits, it was gorgeous."

Chewie saw her opportunity and seized it, the All My Children alum teased.

"She was like, 'I know this is a rare moment. I'm going to take complete advantage of it.' "Ripa said of her pooch. "She was like, 'You dummies.' And she's so old, it didn't even occur to me, 'I should put this higher, she'll never be able to get up here.' She's bionic, this dog, if you put a ham or a turkey or anything Thanksgiving in front of her. She's like a phoenix from the ashes, flying onto the table."

Live with Kelly and Ryan airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).

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