Declaring her comedy is at odds with the “creative direction” of “Fashion Police,” Kathy Griffin announced Thursday that she’s leaving the red-carpet ridicule series she just joined last month.
In explaining her decision on Twitter, the former Oak Parker hinted that she was being encouraged to joke in ways that made her uneasy.
“There is plenty to make fun of in pop culture,” she wrote, “without bring people’s bodies into it. … I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference.”
An E! spokeswoman confirmed the departure and said the next “Fashion Police” episode will air as scheduled March 30 with co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski.
“We wish [Griffin] all the best and are grateful for her time on the show, as well as the many laughs that she gave us all,” the statement added.
Griffin announced in November that she would become the next “Fashion Police” host, replacing her late friend Joan Rivers, whose daughter Melissa remained an executive producer of the show.
Though “Fashion Police” is notorious for its savage commentary on stars’ red-carpet looks, it seemed to cross a line last month when Rancic said the dreadlocked hair of singer-actress Zendaya probably “smells like patchouli oil or weed.”
Zendaya shot back that the remarks were “outrageously offensive,” and longtime “Fashion Police” panelist Kelly Osbourne — a friend of Zendaya — railed on Twitter that “I DO NOT CONDONE RACISM SO AS A RSULT OF THIS IM SEREIOULSY QUESTIONONIG (sic) STAYING ON THE SHOW!” Osbourne quit the show later that week.
Griffin further explains her comic philosophy in an interview appearing this Sunday in the Sun-Times’ Splash magazine. “As it is my living, passion and vocation, here’s the best I can give you: I will make my Miley Cyrus jokes as long as people want to laugh at them,” she says. “But there is a chasm of difference between making a joke about Miley Cyrus wearing duct tape over her nipples in public — which I think is totally fair game — and simply looking at a photo of her on a red carpet and saying she is ugly or a bad singer or pathetic or something like that.”
She said comedy needs to evolve with the times. “The show wanted to do a running segment called ‘Whore Score.’ ” she told Splash. “Um, no thanks. I think we can do better. Look, God knows my — how shall I say — repertoire over all these years on TV and live touring has used some language I wouldn’t use today, but people just aren’t into that stuff anymore and I get it. Name-calling and alliteration with no comedic context is simply the lowest hanging fruit. If I’m making fun of Oprah, I don’t just scream, ‘She’s fat. G’night everybody.’ I do an impression of her hilarious voice, I quote episodes of ‘Favorite Things,’ I even tell a story of my personal experience about being on her show. I do NOT say she’s a terrible talk show host or actress. I do not say she isn’t beautiful. She BEHAVES in a way that my audiences have found amusing for years.”
As for Rancic’s quip, “I wouldn’t have said the joke in the first place. Some dude wrote it for her.”