Kathy Griffin on 'Fashion Police': A Formulaic "Dog Pile" That "Felt Disingenuous to Me"
"I kind of felt like I was being forced to comment about pictures of beautiful women in perfect dresses and say kind of bad things. … As a feminist and a comic, it just didn't feel like the right fit for me."
Kathy Griffin elaborated on her Fashion Police exit while on The View on Monday morning.
"I did a statement because I felt like Fashion Police just wasn't the thing for me. My style is improvisational and off the cuff, and they have a formula that worked so well with Joan [Rivers], and so well for so long, and it just didn't fit my thing," she said of leaving the E! program after seven episodes. "And after a while, I kind of felt like I was being forced to comment about pictures of beautiful women in perfect dresses and say kind of bad things. … As a feminist and a comic, it just didn't feel like the right fit for me."
Though Griffin often makes sharp jabs at her CNN New Year's Eve special co-host Anderson Cooper, she noted that "he can take it," and the difference is that "I would never say Anderson isn't a great journalist. I would never say he's not handsome. But sure, I'm gonna give him a hard time, and I'm gonna tease him. I'm a professional comedian; that's what I do. There's a big difference. It's in context, of course."
That context is very different on Fashion Police because in stand-up, "you're kind of vulnerable — you're there with a 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 we could talk about the events themselves and the shows, so I didn't want to say that Meryl Streep didn't look great, because she looked great. So sometimes it felt disingenuous to me. … But certainly, in my repertoire, I've said heinous things — I'm well aware of that, trust me!"
Of Giuliana Rancic's derogatory comment on Zendaya's hair, she added, "I didn't even know she was gonna say that because some dude wrote that for her — which I don't feel they really need that. Honestly, I think that everyone should've just improvised — she said it, and I was trying to be a team player, and the show is very formulaic, and that's how they like it. It's just not my thing. So when it came time to leave, they were very nice to me; they weren't mean or evil."
Unaware of longtime castmember Kelly Osbourne's exit from the show as well, Griffin called her "younger woman feminist" friend Lena Dunham to help her craft a statement and then asked for support on Twitter from others because "I was going up against a big corporation, and I'm scared, and I'm nervous" and comedy is a "male-dominated industry."
Though she didn't comment on whether the show should step away and reboot, she elaborated, "They had a very strict lane that they wanted me in. … I go for people, but I wouldn't hold up a picture of Kim Kardashian and say, 'She's ugly, good night.' I wouldn't hold up a picture of Oprah [Winfrey] and say, 'She's fat, good night.' … I go for behavior as stuff to play with."
"I was told they would happily sign onto my style and all that other stuff, but it's kind of like buying a house: You don't know until you spend the first night there if there's a dog that barks next door or if there's a neighbor that's a certain way. And I really didn't know until I took the seat," she continued. "But no harm, no foul — they were very nice to me, and it just wasn't the right thing for me."
"There's a lot of stuff I've said before that I wouldn't say now, and there's stuff I probably won't say in five years that I say now," she concluded. "Comedy has to evolve."
Griffin also sat down with Howard Stern to talk about her exit. He asked her about Osbourne's decision to leave Fashion Police immediately after Rancic's Zendaya comment and questioned whether Osbourne used this as an excuse to leave because she was already thinking of resigning prior to the Oscars.
"I do kind of get that feeling," said Griffin. "She had four, five such great years with Joan. To me, that means it's not the same as it was with Joan. And I gotta be honest: I kind of feel the same way."