Former Fox News primetime host Bill O’Reilly recounted to Tucker Carlson Wednesday night his famous ‘We’ll do it live!’ hot mic moment on Inside Edition decades ago.
“I have to ask. I just can’t resist, and I don’t mean this as a criticism because I actually love it, but the most famous video on the Internet is you, shot off camera, in a previous job before Fox,” Carlson said.
“What am I doing, going live?” O’Reilly joked:
Ep. 26 The Bill O'Reilly Interview pic.twitter.com/yHabD7W9NO
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) September 28, 2023
“So I’m on Inside Edition, and they can’t tape it,” O’Reilly recalled. “Every two minutes, they go, ‘Oh, we didn’t get the audio. Oh, you were out of frame. Oh, there’s a giant glob on your ear,’ and they couldn’t get it taped.”
The video clip, which came from O’Reilly’s time on the show between 1989 and 1995 and was unearthed in 2008, as USA Today noted, shows the host snapping at his producers over the teleprompter.
“Whatever it is, it’s not right on the teleprompter. I don’t know what that is. I’ve never seen that,” O’Reilly said to his producers after a long silence at the end of a take for the show’s outro. “I can’t read it. There’s no words on it!”
O’Reilly read, “To play us out,” then asked, “What does that mean?”
A producer informed him it was a video from the band Sting. After O’Reilly realized the show would end on the song, he attempted two more unsuccessful takes before uttering his now-famous line.
“We’ll do it live. We’ll do it live. Fuck it. I’ll write it, and we’ll do it live – fucking thing sucks,” he shouted.
Seconds later, O’Reilly tried one more take, which was successful, and as the camera angle changed and panned back from above the studio, he was seen throwing his pen and ripping off his jacket.
O’Reilly told Carlson that people around the world have identified him in public based on the clip.
“I was in Iceland, and I had some gnome come up to me and go, ‘You’re the going live guy!’ I said, ‘What? I’m in Iceland!’” O’Reilly said.
“It’s all over the world. I mean, there are Japanese guys going, ‘Oh, do it live guy,’” he added. “I mean, it was ridiculous.”
The two former Fox News primetime hosts’ interview competed directly with the second Republican presidential debate on their former network.
It was one of two major events the struggling candidates at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, had to compete with, as former President Donald Trump delivered a primetime address to striking autoworkers in Michigan.