Oprah, Uma

LORELAI: Rory, Gigi. Rory, Gigi. They’re identical.

RORY: They are not identical.

LORELAI: Two syllables, repeating consonants. Rory . . . .Gigi.

RORY: Oprah, Uma.

Rory references the 67th Academy Awards in 1995, which were hosted by David Letterman. He made a joke about Oprah Winfrey and actress Uma Thurman, by introducing them to each other:

“I’ve been dying to do something all day and I think maybe we can take care of this. Oprah? Uma. Uma? Oprah”.

The joke is simply that they are two women with unusual names. The punchline to the joke was, “I feel much better. Have you kids met Keanu?”. (Meaning actor Keanu Reeves, who, like Winfrey, was a presenter at the awards – Uma Thurman was nominated for Pulp Fiction).

The joke was considered so random and ridiculous that hardly anybody laughed – perhaps in desperation, Letterman kept repeating the joke, and even tried it again with different celebrities (Signourney Weaver and Quincy Jones). Although the awards ceremony got good ratings, Letterman was flayed by the press.

David Letterman was named one of the worst hosts of the awards, and ratings on his own show suffered and never recovered. It further damaged his relationship with Oprah Winfrey, who he was already in a bit of a feud with (they officially made up in 2005).

Lorelai is really stretching things to say Rory and Gigi are identical names. A bunch of names have two syllables, and repeating consonants are not that unusual (Nina, Lily, and Poppy would also fit, for example, and does anyone really think Nina is identical to Rory?).

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