Kathy Griffin has gotten some serious mileage out of claiming to be on the D list. But the comedian’s fame may really be due to her almost permanent residence on the shit list.
Once again Griffin is in hot water, after testing broadcast standards with a lewd bit during her New Year’s Eve co-hosting stint with Anderson Cooper on CNN. First she fired off a series of innuendos about Cooper’s “sack.” Then she got on her knees and attempted to kiss his crotch. Cue a bevy of family watchdog groups ringing in 2013 with horror and outrage.
The kerfuffle leaves Griffin once again sitting gleefully atop a heap of controversy (and publicity) as she gears up for the debut of the second season of her Bravo talk show, Kathy. With the premiere set for Thursday at 10 p.m., here’s a greatest hits of Griffin’s most outrageous moments.
NYE Crotch Shot
“Each year I keep thinking she’s not going to get rehired, and then there she is back again,” Anderson Cooper said of Griffin before this year’s New Year’s Eve broadcast on CNN. “She’s a handful because we never know what she’s going to say or do. It makes me nervous every time—I sweat tremendously during the broadcast.” Considering that Griffin monologued holiday-themed nicknames for his penis before simulating fellatio on him, that trepidation was pretty on point.
NYE F Bomb
Griffin welcomed 2010 the way only she could—by dropping the F bomb. During the New Year’s Eve telecast on CNN, she and Cooper were bantering about the year’s biggest stories, which included the infamous “balloon boy,” Falcon Heene. “Fal—Fuckin? Falcon? How do you say it?” Griffin said. Shaking his head in dismay, Cooper replied, “You’re terrible. Really terrible.”
As we’ve learned, some things are certain on New Year’s Eve. The ball will drop. People will kiss at midnight. And Griffin’s foul mouth will make headlines. During the 2009 telecast, a few misguided drunks decided to heckle Griffin and Cooper, and while throwing to commercial break, Griffin let loose: “You know what, screw you! I’m working!” she shouted. “I don’t go to your job and knock the dicks out of your mouth,” she added—creating quite the visual for the new year.
Suck It, Jesus
When celebrities win their first major Hollywood award, they typically thank the big three: their parents, their agents, and, above all, Jesus. Not Kathy Griffin. “I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus,” Griffin said as she accepted her Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2007. “So, all I can say is, ‘Suck it, Jesus.’ This award is my god now.” Unsurprisingly, the speech was censored during the ceremony’s telecast.
Public Pap Smear
From “Suck it, Jesus” to “Suck it, cancer.” A year after her Emmy speech, Griffin staged a typically blushworthy stunt—this time for the common good. She filmed a public poolside Pap smear for an episode of My Life on the D-List and even sent out a press release touting the uncomfortable procedure, with the goal of raising awareness for cervical cancer.
Booed Over Palin Fat Joke
Know your audience, Kathy. Performing for a VH1 special called “Divas Salute the Troops,” Griffin took potshots at Bristol Palin, who at that time was competing on Dancing With the Stars. Griffin called Palin “the only contestant in the history of the show to actually gain weight ... She gained, like, 30 pounds a week. I swear to God, it was fantastic. She’s like the white Precious.” The joke got her booed—loudly—by the troops in attendance, and Sarah Palin responded by calling her a bully.
Dakota Fanning Is in Rehab
Hired by the E! channel to cover the red carpet at the 2005 Golden Globes, Griffin treated the gig, as expected, like an extended stand-up routine. Rather than conduct serious interviews with stars, she teased them with joke questions—which were more obvious as jokes to some than others—like, “Kabbalah or Scientology?” “Got any weed?” and, most controversially, “Did you hear that little Dakota Fanning entered rehab today?” (Fanning was 10 at the time.) As Griffin recounts in this bit, E! was not amused, quickly issuing an apology—and blacklisting Griffin.
Throwdown With Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Griffin has a storied history with The View. She’s been banned, unbanned, rebanned, and invited back too many times to keep track after including embarrassing anecdotes about Barbara Walters and the other hosts in her act. Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck confronted Griffin about those comments during a 2010 appearance, making things painfully awkward. “This moment is what I live for,” Griffin replied as Hasselbeck got fired up. “Bring it!”