Kathy Griffin on Fashion Police: it felt disingenuous, like a dog pile

You have to hand it to Kathy Griffin. She’s received more press in the past week than she has in years, and she’s earned it. Kathy is really dishing on her brief experience on Fashion Police, which she quit last week, stating in part that she didn’t want to contribute toward a “culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference.” Right before she quit, Kathy said that Fashion Police wanted to start a segment called “wh*re score”, which she disagreed with. She also said that she wouldn’t have said the rude and arguably racially insensitive joke about Zendaya’s dreadlocks that landed Giuliana in hot water, adding that “some dude wrote it for her.

In an appearance on The View yesterday, Kathy elaborated on her reasons for leaving The View. It was about the scripted kind of canned nature of the show, which she called mean without directly using the word. Kathy of course knew about Fashion Police ahead of time, but she thought she could change the show and was told that they would be accommodating. She said a lot in a very short period of time, I was impressed by how well spoken and well reasoned she was. (You can watch her interview at :20 into the episode on Hulu and there are two segments on YouTube.)

On why she issued a statement
I did a statement because I felt like Fashion Police just wasn’t the thing for me, you know what I mean? My style is improvisational and off the cuff, and they have a formula that worked so well with Joan and so well for so long and it just didn’t fit my thing. After awhile, I kind of felt like I was being forced to comment about pictures of beautiful women in perfect dresses and say bad things.

The days of Bjork are over—and the swan. As a feminist and a comic, it just didn’t feel like the right fit for me.

On how her comedy is different
I love to make fun of Anderson Cooper and I’ve made a cottage industry out of New Year’s Eve, but I would never say Anderson isn’t a great journalist. But sure, I’m going to give him a hard time and I’m going to tease him. I’m a professional comedian, it’s what I do, but it’s in context.

On the difference between standup and Fashion Police
You’re kind of vulnerable. You’re there with the microphone and the audience, and you’re hoping to take this audience on a ride. It’s a little different than what felt to me, sort of like a dog pile. Right now, on the red carpet, all these women look so great. I was hoping that we could talk about the events themselves and the shows and stuff like that. And so I didn’t want to say that Meryl Streep didn’t look great, because she looked great. So sometimes it just felt disingenuous to me. But certainly, in my repertoire, I’ve said heinous things, I’m well aware of that, trust me!

How she felt during Giuliana’s patchouli oil segment
I didn’t know she was going to say that, because some dude wrote that for her, which I didn’t even feel they really needed. I think that everyone should have just improvised… the show is very formulaic and that’s their thing.

She asked Lena Dunham for help with her statement
When it came time to leave they were very nice to me and they weren’t mean and evil. So I actually called I actually called Lena Dunham. I went,’ Okay, Joan was 27 years older than I am, I’m 54. I need like a younger woman feminist to help me craft a statement. She was super generous. I wanted to say it as a comic and a feminist. I’m still going to give people crap…

On what’s next for Fashion Police
Since I don’t work there anymore that’s like asking me what’s going to happen on Ray Donovan, because I don’t know. I think that they had a very strict lane that they wanted to be in. And you guys know my work. I have 23 specials and I say my personal encounters with people and I go for people. But like, I wouldn’t hold up a picture of Kim Kardashian and say ‘She’s ugly, goodnight.’ I wouldn’t hold up a picture of Oprah and say, ‘She’s fat, goodnight.’ I would say, [does impression] ‘Oprah said, John Travolta’s here!’ The behavior and the stuff to play with, and that’s really kind of what I do.

On if she thought she could change the show
I was told that they would happily sign onto my style. It’s kind of like buying a house you don’t really know until you spend the first night there… I really didn’t know until I took the seat. No harm, no foul. It just wasn’t the right thing for me.

[From The View and via US Weekly]

Kathy ended by saying that “there’s a lot of stuff that I said before that I wouldn’t say now and there’s stuff I probably wouldn’t say in five years that I say now. Comedy has to evolve.” The show has a formula that works for them, they have a way they do things, and they weren’t going to change overnight. I really liked the simile that Kathy used about how it’s like buying a house and you don’t know how well it’s going to work out until you try it. In an interview on Howard Stern yesterday, Kathy said something similar, that she probably shouldn’t have taken the job so soon after Joan Rivers passed and that she was just “trying to be me.”

After watching her on The View, I came away with a lot of respect for Kathy and felt like I understood why she left. I also think she made it pretty difficult for Fashion Police to continue business as usual. She just called out their whole style multiple times and in many different ways. I really wonder if they’re going to just hire new hosts and try to pick up where they left off, or if they’ll consider her feedback and try to change.

Fifty Shades Of Fashion in celebration of Fifty Shades Of Grey

Fifty Shades Of Fashion in celebration of Fifty Shades Of Grey

'Girls' season four premiere

photo credit: WENN.com

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34 Responses to “Kathy Griffin on Fashion Police: it felt disingenuous, like a dog pile”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I thought her statement was great, and she had a good reason for leaving, but I hope she doesn’t continue to dwell on this. It’s starting to sound a little like humble bragging. Move on.

  2. Izzy says:

    Fashion Police died with Joan. I hope another network gives Kathy her own show.

    • LadyMTL says:

      My thoughts exactly. E should just cancel the show and be done with it.

    • denisemich says:

      +1. But Kathy should not talk about fashion. That is not how I view her. Also, I think talking about fashion on the red carpet is a dying dog. Joan was that industry. Now that she has died, I don’t see stars playing the game like they used to.

    • Talie says:

      She seemed to be worried on Stern that her days on TV were done — at least the major networks. I didn’t realize E! was under the same umbrella as Bravo! I mean, that place is (was?) her bread and butter. Andy Cohen kind of dismissed her recently in his Ask Andy videos he does…so stuff is going down. I think she burned a major bridge.

  3. Lucy2 says:

    She knew what it was about, thought it would all change, and it didn’t so she left. Fine. This is being made into a much bigger deal than it actually is, or needs to be.
    The whole Lena paragraph made me stabby. Why would she need someone younger to help her write a statement about something she was very clear on? And can the world please stop acting like Lena is the only example of feminism under the age of 30?

    • belle de jour says:

      Agree x 1000 with your thoughts on the LD paragraph.

      It’s amazing how quickly & desperately people will grab onto a shorthand ‘solution’ for an ‘issue’ that is as complex and nuanced as feminism. I hardly think we need to brand a mascot or PSA spokesperson like McGruff the Crime Dog or Smokey the Bear.

      • SuzytV says:

        We need Nancy the Feminist Narwhal. People have a hard time describing her, some don’t think she’s legit, but she’s a real creature found in nature.

      • belle de jour says:

        @ SuzytV: Yes. The perfect titular, toothsome titty-twisting unicorn of the sea. Be ye fishers of feminists.

        Thank you for making me crack up.

  4. amanda says:

    I love her but was surprised (kinda) that she was on The View.

    Wasn’t she ‘banned’ over and over from that show? I feel like she talks about it and how the women on that show don’t like her and can’t handle her, etc.

    Good to see her getting publicity and being back on The View.

    • Christo says:

      Yes, I watched this yesterday. She seems to have evolved ever so slightly. All that being said, I am completely, utterly distracted by whatever that is next to her armpit above in the first picture. I kept scrolling up to decipher whether it is a flesh-colored bra or her arm. Any guesses?

      • CatJ says:

        Yes, that is the first thing I noticed and it distracted me from the rest.
        Is it back fat from squeezing into a too-small dress?

  5. lisa2 says:

    I like Kathy and thought she was doing fine on FP. I think that joke that GR made or was written for her kind of proves Kathy’s point. Kathy was not bringing the low one liners like Joan did and so the GR was picking up that slack.
    It is strange how people are all so PRO Joan now that she has passed away. But Joan could go over the line a lot. And some of her jokes were not meant for TV or a Fashion show. FP is trying to be the same. I thought when they hired Kathy they would do something different. I’m not interested in the low personal hits on FP.. talk about fashion and maybe wrong choices.. but some of the jokes that were made when Joan was there made me stop watching the show.

    • Santolina says:

      Yes, Joan could be borderline vicious, like commenting on someone’s body odor.

    • Imo says:

      Agreed. This St. Joan redo tears my nerves. I kept giving her excuses but after the cruel joke she made about those poor girls held captive in that vicious monster’s basement I began disliking her intensely. Being a devoted daughter myself I was shocked and saddened by her untimely passing but I remember quite clearly what Joan Rivers was all about.

    • Christin says:

      The few times I watched FP, Joan invariably said at least one over the line thing. Cringe-worthy stuff that sometimes seemed off the cuff, but now we know it was all written in advance.

  6. Santolina says:

    I agree with her politics, and this controversy made it clear that she can be passionate and articulate about what she believes in. Personally, I would like to see her become more of an activist. At the very least, she needs to find her own vehicle.

  7. Greata says:

    Call me jaded…but I am not buying what Ms. Kathy Griffin is selling….Girl is just trying to save her own a*s. What …is she such a virginal novice in Hollywood that she did not know what FP was about. Please!

    • Santolina says:

      How is she “just trying to save her own a*s” in this situation? She wasn’t fired – she quit. The press asked her to explain her reasons.

    • Nicolette says:

      Exactly. It didn’t bend to her specifications I guess and it sounds like sour grapes. She wanted to talk about the events? No one watched Fashion Police to hear about the events, we used to watch to hear about the Fashion. Yes the comments were snarky but that’s what I liked about it. Celebs are so used to being told how wonderful they are and many have an attitude that they are above us. Fashion Police wasn’t about fluffing up their egos even more, and when someone looked ridiculous they called them out on it.

  8. tifzlan says:

    She called on Lena Dunham? Hahahahahaha nope, not gonna take her seriously.

  9. adrien says:

    I don’t understand why people who have no fashion credentials are the ones critiquing fashion choices on the red carpet. The obligatory gay guy on the show has the same fashion sense as Bobby Trendy.

  10. Drbzy says:

    Context: I like Kathy and I actually liked her on the show.

    Problem with her statement: it’s not okay to have somebody write your jokes but it IS okay for somebody to write your two week letter of resignation? Lol

  11. Bridget says:

    Fashion Police is problematic the way it is – it’s a fun, silly segment every once in a while and for awards shows, but on a regular basis it’s kind of gross and mean, not to mention total overload on its unfunny format.

    Kathy’s timing was a pretty mercenary move, because comings and goings on Fashion Police typically don’t make headlines. E! was never going to give her a free rein and I think she was pissed.

  12. Imp says:

    Pffft. She’s just a rat deserting a sinking ship. And calling herself a feminist is laughable. She screwed Levi Johnston for publicity. Nice try, Kathy!!

  13. Gabrielle says:

    Talking about a former employer like this is unprofessional. Period.

  14. kelly says:

    Her voice is like gravel, grating to my ears, plus I guess people think it’s funny that she never shuts up.