Kathleen Mary "Kathy" Griffin (born 4 November 1960) is an American actress, stand-up comedian, Emmy Award-winning television personality, best-selling author and a LGBT rights advocate. Griffin first gained recognition for appearances on two episodes of Seinfeld, and then for her supporting role on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan. She is now the star of the Bravo reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, for which she has won two Emmy Awards as executive producer. She has also worked as a voice artist and red carpet commentator, in addition to several other career pursuits. In 2008 and 2009 she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
Griffin was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in nearby Forest Park and later Oak Park. Her family is Irish Catholic; her mother, Margaret "Maggie" (née Corbally; born 10 June 1920), was a hospital administrator; and her father, John Patrick Griffin, was an electronics store manager. She attended St. Bernadine's Elementary School in Forest Park and Oak Park and River Forest High School, where she graduated in 1978. After high school she attended Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, later dropping out. Griffin is the youngest of five children—she has two older brothers, John and Gary, and an older sister, Joyce. Her other brother, Kenny, is deceased.
In her 2009 autobiography Official Book Club Selection, Griffin went on the record for the first time about her brother Kenny's troubled life. Detailing his history of drug abuse and domestic violence, she also discussed how, though he was never prosecuted, she believes he was a child molester. Many of his female companions later admitted that he abused them. She also states that, when she was eight years old, he would climb into bed with her and cuddle, whispering "sweet nothings" to her (though he never actually molested her). After being told of his inappropriate contact with minors, Griffin chose to end her relationship with her brother.
In the autobiography, Griffin goes on to explain the impact this decision had on her life. Other members of Griffin's family refused to believe he was a child molester, which caused a rift in the family. Many years later, Griffin's father, while speaking on the telephone to Kenny—who was imprisoned—confronted him about the issue. Rather than deny or confirm, Kenny simply stated "I do what I do." This ended the family argument on the issue. Griffin stated that, many years later, she actually passed Kenny standing on a road with a cardboard sign begging for money. It struck her that his sign stated simply "Need food" rather than the commonly seen "Will Work For Food", and it influenced her well-known work ethic for the rest of her life. After living on the street, he eventually returned home to his parents and died in his mother's arms while waiting for an ambulance.
Stand-up comedy, TV and film
Template:BLP sources section Griffin began performing in the early 1980s Los Angeles improv comedy troupe, The Groundlings. In an E! True Hollywood Story segment, she stated that she often went to see the Groundlings perform before she joined. She said that, at one show, she went backstage and talked with Groundling member Phil Hartman and asked him what the group was all about. Struggling to make it in the Los Angeles acting scene, she joined the troupe after a failed audition for the lead role in the film version of Harriet the Spy. This led to her taking classes there and eventually being asked into the Main Company. When she attended The Groundlings, she became best friends with the late Judy Toll who is mentioned in Griffin's book.
She went on to perform stand-up comedy and became part of the burgeoning alternative comedy scene in Los Angeles, appearing at Un-Cabaret and her own show "Hot Cup of Talk", later the title of Griffin's 1998 solo HBO special.
Griffin gradually amassed such TV and film credits as a role in comedian Julie Brown's Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful, a Showtime parody of the 1991 Madonna film Truth or Dare; two appearances as the character Susan Klein, a reporter, on NBC's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, her TV sitcom debut; fellow comic Bob Goldthwait's film Shakes the Clown; as the enthusiastic leader of a fanatical car club on the Ellen episode "Oh, Sweet Rapture", airing in January 1996; starring in a dual-role in a seventh season episode of The X-Files, and an episode of ABC's divorce-attorney series Civil Wars, Griffin's dramatic-series debut. In addition, she appeared on Ugly Betty as a fashion channel reporter.
After starring in an HBO Half Hour Comedy Special, Griffin had her first consistent public exposure in 1996, when she was cast as the acerbic colleague of Brooke Shields' title character on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan. In 1998, Griffin starred in her first one-hour special, HBO's Kathy Griffin: A Hot Cup of Talk. She honed a comedy and television career that poked fun at her relatively modest place in the Hollywood hierarchy in a self-deprecating manner. She frequently appears in such self-consciously tacky projects as the reality show competition Celebrity Mole Hawaii, in which she won the 2003 edition after undergoing such experiences as walking over hot lava with her bare feet. She identifies her victory as the moment she became a "D-list" celebrity.
Griffin's TV production company is called Inappropriate Laughter, a reference to her sometimes shocking form of humor.
On 12 June 2008, Griffin hosted the first ever Bravo! A-List Awards. Included in the show was a scene where Griffin mimicked a "wardrobe malfunction" (referring to the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show controversy in 2004). She also hosted the 2009 Bravo A-List Awards, which aired on 15 April 2009 and her Bravo special Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch, taped on 4 March 2009 in Portland, Oregon, aired beforehand. Shout! Factory released an extended version of the show on DVD in early 2010.
On 8 September 2009, Ballantine Books published Griffin's memoir, titled Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin. The book reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List in its first week of release. A week prior, she released her second comedy album, Suckin' It for the Holidays. It is the comedian's second bid to win a Grammy Award.
It was announced on 3 November 2009, that Griffin was to host ABC's new show Let's Dance, which was supposed to premiere immediately after the finale of Dancing with the Stars on 23 November. On the show, celebrity contestants would have re-enacted famous routines from past music videos, movies, and musicals, while competing for a $250,000 grand prize for their favorite charity. However, the show was postponed until January due to casting issues.
Griffin hosted CNN's New Year's Eve Broadcast on December 31, 2009, along with Anderson Cooper. As Cooper talked about the Balloon boy hoax, Griffin said the word "fucking" while making fun of the pronunciation of Falcon Heene, the six-year-old boy who was said to have been trapped in the balloon. Griffin is rumored to be banned from future CNN broadcasts, because this was the second year in a row she used profanity on live television, and the network released a statement that it "regrets that profanity was used during our New Year's Eve coverage," but has otherwise denied the rumors.
Guest co-host of The View
Kathy Griffin served as the unofficial guest co-host of The View from May 2007 to September 2007. Griffin was considered to join the panel of The View in fall 2007 as a replacement for departing panelist Rosie O'Donnell. Despite running jokes in her act about Executive Producer Barbara Walters not liking her, Griffin co-hosted the show many times after O'Donnell left in May 2007. Whoopi Goldberg was ultimately selected as a permanent replacement. On 10 September 2007, Sherri Shepherd took over the remaining co-host spot, vacant since Star Jones' departure. Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that a source tells him that The View was having second thoughts about hiring Shepherd over Griffin, although both The View and Walters' spokespersons deny this. Walters has stated that she was worried about hiring another loose cannon after the troubles with O'Donnell.
Griffin recently divulged in her stand-up that she is now banned from The View after talking about the gig on her televised comedy special, Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell. While declining to discuss the ban on Access Hollywood, during the filming of an episode for My Life on the D-List with former View co-host/moderator Rosie O'Donnell, Griffin did talk about the ban, specifically targeting View executive producer Bill Geddie. Griffin has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Walters in the event she departs the show. As of August 2009, Griffin has been un-banned from The View and was a guest on September 18, 2009, and 15 June 2010.
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
Emmy Awards controversy
The second season, which premiered on 6 June 2006, brought Griffin the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program, non-competition, on 8 September 2007. She received it during the Creative Arts Emmy, which was hosted by Carlos Mencia and aired on E! on 15 September. Griffin stirred up controversy with her acceptance speech, saying,
|“||Now, a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. He didn't help me a bit. If it was up to him, Cesar Millan would be up here with that damn dog. So all I can say is suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now!||”|
Her remarks were quickly condemned by the Catholic League which urged the academy to "denounce Griffin's obscene and blasphemous comment." The Academy said that her "offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast on Saturday night". Griffin later responded, "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?" The editing was condemned in two consecutive episodes of Freethought Radio, a radio program produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the latter episode containing the deleted material. Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly called Griffin a "pinhead" for her remark, which Griffin considered a "badge of honor."
Style of humor
While Griffin established her career with candid observations about everyday life and her dating experiences, later focusing on mainly mocking celebrities, her act currently consists of recounting embellished stories involving celebrities. Though her humor may be wicked, Griffin hopes people understand that no malice is intended by it. "I'm genuinely a fan of most of the people I trash in the act," said Griffin in an interview. "I really, really try and focus on making fun of people for their behavior. I'm not so into making fun of someone for the way they look, or something that's out of their control." Her favorite celebrity topics are plastic surgery, Scientology, drunkenness, substance abuse, snooty attitudes, eating disorders, and stars whose sexual orientation is disputed. Among Griffin's staples are Paris Hilton, Clay Aiken, Barbara Walters, Whitney Houston, Larry David, Celine Dion, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jerry Seinfeld, Star Jones, Paula Abdul, Sharon Stone, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Ryan Seacrest, Lindsay Lohan, Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, Bravo's Real Housewives and Kirstie Alley.
Griffin is sometimes the object of her own humor, particularly with regard to her D-list status. While Griffin paints herself as a Hollywood outsider, she has a group of close celebrity friends such as Rosie O'Donnell, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Brooke Shields, Gloria Estefan, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Coolidge, Larry David, Ricky Gervais and Lance Bass. Griffin's longtime friendship with Bass was the catalyst for a feud between her and gossip blogger Perez Hilton, in which Griffin expressed anger over Hilton's "outing" of Bass on his website, calling Hilton's attacks on Bass "mean" and "unfunny". Hilton responded by saying that Griffin's anger was hypocritical, considering all of the gay jokes she makes about Clay Aiken in her stand-up routines. In 2007, Griffin commented on her aversion to making fun of celebrity friends by saying, "There's nothing I won't do, but on the other hand I'm full of shit because that changes. For example, you know Lance Bass from 'N Sync and how he's gay now? All those years that I knew he was gay, he and I were friends, I would never say, 'Hey, by the way, did you know that Lance Bass is gay?'" Griffin and Hilton ended their feud after the death of Griffin's father, and Hilton appeared on an episode of her show in 2007. Yet in July 2008, he asserted that Griffin's assistant Jessica Zajicek had quit because she could not take Griffin's now hectic career. Griffin dismissed these statements as false as Zajicek is still working for Griffin. However, the season premier of The D-List depicted that Zajicek was no longer working for Griffin; Griffin explained early in the episode that Zajicek "has decided to move on".
Her style has led to a number of controversies. Although some talk show hosts welcome her humor on their programs such as Craig Kilborn, Bill Maher and Howard Stern (who she credits with giving her a "straight fanbase"), Griffin has claimed to be banned from appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Live with Regis and Kelly, Late Show with David Letterman and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She recently got rebanned from The View because of a joke she made about Barbara Walters. She says Ellen's producers told her they cannot have her "trashing celebrities". However, Griffin appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 11 September 2007. One of the most notable controversies occurred when she made a joke during a 2005 E! televised event that the child actress Dakota Fanning, then age 11, had entered rehab. This incident got Griffin fired from hosting duties on E!'s red-carpet award show coverage. Nevertheless, E! purchased rights to air My Life on the D-List for its British channel, a fact she noted in an episode of season 3.
In a July 2009 episode of My Life on the D-List, after using profanity in an Octomom joke during her routine at New York's legendary Apollo Theatre, Griffin claimed that she received a letter banning her from the venue.
Griffin has claimed to have been fired from an appearance on the show Hannah Montana, on account of her Emmy acceptance speech. According to Griffin "the instructions literally came down, 'We don't want her anywhere near the building.'" Griffin hit back in her comedy act joking that Miley Cyrus "...has been flashing her green bra and posing topless."
In May 2006, Griffin visited the troops in Kuwait who were on their way to service in Iraq. She had dinner at the chow hall with many troops, including Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25.
LGBT rights advocacy
Griffin is an outspoken supporter for LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. She has protested with fellow proponents in West Hollywood, California, and showcased the footage of said protesting on her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Her mother Maggie Griffin is also a supporter of LGBT rights and is seen in Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List protesting alongside her daughter. Prior to the Proposition 8 ballot results, Griffin volunteered for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s "Vote for Equality" campaign, going door-to-door asking Los Angeles residents for their opinion of LGBT marriage rights.
She also has been a long-time supporter of the Aid For AIDS annual fundraiser, Best In Drag Show in Los Angeles, and hosted the opening of the show for more than five years. In November 2009, Aid For AIDS presented Kathy Griffin with an AFA Angel Award at their silver anniversary celebration.
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Script error Griffin describes herself as a "militant atheist". While in high school, she fell away from the Roman Catholic Church and wanted to become a Unitarian. Said Griffin: "I'm not really sure what that is, but it sounds better."
She is an outspoken opponent of LASIK eye surgery, having endured a series of operations for her own eyesight that left her partially blind in one eye with a visible eyeball deformity. She is open about her multiple plastic surgeries, and claims that fat "was donated to a soup kitchen" after her liposuction procedure.
Her father, John Patrick Griffin, died of heart failure on 17 February 2007 during the shooting of the third season of her reality show; he was 90 years old. The episode related to his death aired on 19 June 2007.
Marriage and relationships
Griffin married Washington, D.C. native Matt Moline on 18 February 2001, atop the 360 Degree Restaurant in Hollywood. ABC News reported that she walked down the aisle to the strains of 1980s power ballad "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger. Her maid of honor was Brooke Shields; and the wedding was attended by, among others, Rebekah Kelley, Camryn Manheim, Bill Maher, James Williams, and Jane Krakowski.
Although they appeared to have a loving and supportive relationship on her reality show, there were problems beneath the surface. After briefly separating and reconciling in 2005, they divorced in May 2006. Griffin had her tattooed wedding ring laser-removed after her divorce. On Larry King Live, Griffin accused her husband of stealing $72,000 from her. In a written statement, he declined to respond to the allegations publicly.
Since July 2007, rumors had circulated that Griffin had been dating Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. They attended the 2007 Emmy Awards together, and speculations arose when the two were interviewed together on the red carpet. On 18 September 2007, Us Weekly reported that Griffin and Wozniak were engaged; however, neither Griffin nor Wozniak confirmed the rumor. During a January 2008 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Griffin confirmed that Wozniak will be a regular guest on the fourth season of her reality show. On Tom Green's House Tonight on February 6, Griffin confirmed her relationship with Wozniak. When asked if she actually targeted Wozniak to make her ex-husband jealous, Griffin stated "What better way to get back at my ex, who was a tech, than to marry the biggest techno-nerd in the Universe?" Wozniak and Griffin served as King and Queen of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley Fur Ball on 5 April 2008, in Santa Clara, California, and scenes for the fourth season of My Life on the D-List were taped. However, as of June 2008, it was confirmed that Griffin and Wozniak are no longer dating and have decided to remain friends. As noted in a postscript on the 7 August 2008 episode of My Life On The D-List, Wozniak quickly became engaged and subsequently married another woman, later revealed to be Apple executive Janet Hill. According to Griffin, "He met someone very quickly and then they [got] engaged. I have had dinner with them, and she's a thousand times more appropriate! I hate to say it; but in the Bruce, Demi, Ashton [scheme of things], I’m the Bruce!"
On August 9, 2009, she attended the Teen Choice Awards with Levi Johnston and subsequently interviewed him in her role as guest host on Larry King Live. In the interview, Griffin and Johnston mocked the idea that they were in a serious relationship.
|1992||Shakes the Clown||Lucy|
|Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful||Taffy|
|1994||Pulp Fiction||Woman on street after car crash||Cameo|
|1995||Big News||TV film|
|The Barefoot Executive||Mary||TV film|
|1996||The Cable Guy||Mother|
|1997||Who's the Caboose?||Katty|
|Courting Courtney||Ona Miller|
|1999||Can't Stop Dancing||modeling agent|
|Muppets from Space||Female armed guard|
|Jackie's Back||herself||TV film|
|2000||Lion of Oz||Caroline||Voice role|
|The Intern||Cornelia Crisp|
|Enemies of Laughter||Cindy|
|A Diva's Christmas Carol||Ghost of Christmas Past||TV film|
|E||Nurse||"The Real Slim Shady", music video collection|
|2001||On Edge||Karen Katz|
|2002||Run Ronnie Run||herself|
|2003||Beethoven's 5th||Evie Kling|
|2005||Dirty Love||Madame Pelly|
|2005||Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone||Rhoga||Voice role|
|Her Minor Thing||Maggie|
|2006||Bachelor Party Vegas||She-Elvis||Uncredited cameo|
|2007||Judy Toll: The Funniest Woman You've Never Heard of||herself||Documentary|
|In Search of Puppy Love||herself||Documentary|
|Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project||herself||Documentary|
|2009||Around the World in 50 Years 3D||voice role|
|2010||Shrek Forever After||Taran||voice role|
|Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work||herself||Documentary|
|1989–1991||On the Television||various|
|The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air|
|1990||Susan Klein||"Not with My Pig, You Don't"|
|1993||Civil Wars||Yvonne||"Watt, Me Worry?"|
|Dream On||Dawn||"The French Conception"|
|Dweebs||Sheila||"The Birthday Party Show"|
|1995||Mad About You||Brenda||"New Year's Eve"|
|1996||Ellen||Peggy||"Oh, Sweet Rapture"|
|Partners||Michelle||"Can We Keep Her, Dad?"|
|Caroline in the City||DMV clerk||"Caroline and the Movie"|
|Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist||herself||Two episodes, voice role|
|1995–1996||Ned & Stacey||Jeanne||Two episodes|
|1997||Oddville, MTV||13 August|
|1996–1998||Seinfeld||Sally Weaver||Two episodes|
|1999||Rock & Roll Jeopardy!||herself||Celebrity edition|
|2000||The X-Files||Betty Templeton/Lulu Pfeiffer||"Fight Club"|
|1999–2000||Dilbert||Alice||thirty episodes, voice role|
|1996–2000||Suddenly Susan||Vicki Groener||Ninety-two episodes, main character|
|2001||The Simpsons||Francine||"Bye Bye Nerdie"|
|Strong Medicine||Matchmaker||"Silent Epidemic"|
|Weakest Link||herself||"Comedians Special"|
|Kathy's So Called Reality||herself||Hostess|
|2002||The Drew Carey Show||Kathy||"The Eagle Has Landed"|
|2003||What's New, Scooby-Doo?||Luis Agent Autumn Summerfield||"The Unnatural", voice role|
|Spider-Man: The New Animated Series||Roxanne Gaines||"Mind Game: Part 1" and "Part 2"|
|Crank Yankers||Marion Simons||One episode, voice role|
|The Mole||herself||Six episodes, season three winner|
|2002–2003||Whose Line Is It Anyway?||herself||Four episodes (5-02, 5–15, 5–19, 5–29)|
|2004||Striperella||The Bridesmaid||"The Bridesmaid", voice role|
|Half & Half||Dr. Morgan||"The Big Labor of Love Episode"|
|Celebrity Poker Showdown||herself||Two episodes, third tournament|
|2001–2004||Hollywood Squares||herself||Eighty-six episodes|
|2005||Cheap Shots||Rae||"1995 SuperDogs! Superjocks!"|
|Days of our Lives||Limo driver|
|2006||Gameshow Marathon||herself||"Match Game"|
|2007||Ugly Betty||Fashion TV anchor||"In or Out"|
|Dog Whisperer||herself||s04 e24|
|2009||Privileged||Olivia||"All About a Brand New You"|
|Paris Hilton's My New BFF||herself||Special guest|
|2008–2010||Larry King Live||herself||Six episodes|
|2009||The Comedy Central Roast Of Joan Rivers||herself||Roast Master|
|The Celebrity Apprentice 2||herself||Special guest|
|2005–present||Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List||herself|| Forty-eight episodes|
Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
|2010||Law & Order Special Victims Unit||"Babs Duffy"||Episode: "P.C."|
|RuPaul's Drag Race Season 2||Guest Judge||Episode: "Gone With The Windows"|
|The Marriage Ref||Guest Judge||Episode: "Tracy Morgan, Kathy Griffin, and Nathan Lane"|
|Last Comic Standing||Performer||Season 7 finale|
- HBO Comedy Half-Hour (1996)
- Kathy Griffin: Hot Cup of Talk (1998)
- Kathy Griffin: The D-List (2004)
- Kathy Griffin: Allegedly (2004)
- Kathy Griffin Is... Not Nicole Kidman (2005)
- Kathy Griffin: Strong Black Woman (2006)
- Kathy Griffin: Everybody Can Suck It (2007)
- Kathy Griffin: Straight To Hell (2007)
- Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut A Bitch (2009)
- Kathy Griffin: Balls Of Steel (2009)
- Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt (2010)
On 10 June 2008, Griffin released a comedy CD titled For Your Consideration. It is Griffin's first audio-only release of her stand-up material. The disc was recorded at the ETK Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center For The Arts in Tracy, California on 17 February 2008. Included on the disc are her takes on various celebrities and her personal life. Griffin stated that she decided to release this CD to try to win a Grammy award. On 3 December 2008, Griffin was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. However, she lost to George Carlin's It's Bad for Ya.
On 25 August 2009, Griffin released a second comedy album, Suckin' It for the Holidays, in another bid for a Grammy. The album was initially released as a digital download and will retail release on 3 November 2009. Despite the album's holiday title, it contains little holiday-related content, and it just barely made the nominations cut-off. On 2 December 2009 it was nominated for Best Comedy Album, making it Kathy's second Grammy nomination.
Script error Script error
- Script error
- Template:Title without disambig at the Internet Movie Database
- Kathy Griffin at TV.com
- Kathy Griffin vs. Betty White Challenge: Who Hosts SNL First?[dead link]