Joy Behar discusses her decision to exit “The View”; Barbara Walters, meanwhile, denied reports that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is leaving. (Donna Svennevik/ABC)

And what with Barbara Walters being back — after recouping from hitting her head and contracting chicken pox from some actor who had shingles — the conversation naturally turned to her:

“Here I am,” Babs began. “So last Thursday, I guess four or five days ago, Joy announced that she wanted to leave ‘The View’ and pursue other passages, which she will tell you about. Joy and I started the show together.

Joy concurred.

“I sort of feel that I discovered you, even though you were already doing stand-up,” Babs continued.

Joy took the high road and agreed to credit Babs with “discovering me for national TV.”

“Sixteen and a half years,” Babs marveled.

“Barbara, may I interrupt you?” Joy asked. Stupid question.

“I just want to say I’m your best statement,” Babs answered.

“You are,” Joy said, taking advantage of Babs’s having paused to take a breath. “But 16 years I was married, also. I don’t like jobs to last longer than my marriage.”

“That’s a very good reason,” Babs answered absently. “But I do have to say seriously, that when you announced this last week, it was very bittersweet. I want what’s best for you. I want what’s best for all of you. But I have to say I will miss you. And I know . . . .“ (That made it six “I’s” in all, in case you lost count).

Finally, Joy got to read her Top-10 Reasons for Leaving, starting with:

10. ABC won’t let me drink on the air like Hoda and Kathie Lee.

And ending with:

1. The number one reason I’ll be leaving ‘The View,’ I finally will have a chance to fulfill my dreams: going a whole week without putting on a brassiere.

Then, Babs grew serious.

“There is a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up about Elisabeth’s alleged departure, saying that we don’t approve of her conservative views. The truth is, we love Elisabeth. I like her personally, and she’s just a wonderful person. But beyond that, we value and appreciate her point of view. . .because Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance. And believe me, she’s tougher than she looks. She has to be, to sit here for a decade and take the kind of guff we give her. So we have no plans for Elisabeth to leave the show.”

The audience erupted into applause.