On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter profiled beleaguered, polarizing comedian Kathy Griffin and asked the crucial question, “Can a Comic in Exile Come Back?, before all but answering itself with a resounding “No.”
The Reporter ran a piece supposedly checking in on Griffin and her current state of “exile.” However, the buzzy profile quickly turned into a hit piece.
Despite teasing a Griffin comeback in the headline, the piece immediately victim-blames Griffin for the fallout of her photo shoot last year in which she posed with what appeared to be a decapitated Trump head. In addition to blaming Griffin for her subsequent falling out with Anderson Cooper — despite the fact that Cooper had dramatically and publicly denounced Griffin and broken off all contact with her before Griffin ever commented on him in an interview — the piece claims she “torched” her own career by participating in the shoot. It’s an inflammatory choice of words for a supposedly objective piece that claims sympathy for Griffin; it seems to ignore the toxic, prevalent forces of sexism that ultimately took Griffin down. Tellingly, the piece does not once acknowledge the hypocrisy of a public that can simultaneously villainize Griffin for making a single unfunny assassination joke while also electing a President who’s a birther, racist, self-confessed sexual predator, etc. etc.
The writer continues his criticism of Griffin by dubbing her subsequent apology video and press conference, respectively, “desperate-sounding” and “disastrous.” The words are clearly the writer’s own: At the time of Griffin’s conference, she earned mostly sympathetic coverage from the press, with only conservative sites excoriating her teary-eyed plea for forgiveness.
The writer goes on to condemn the remainder of Griffin’s supposed failures. At one point, he criticizes her looks — the basest of unflattering descriptions usually reserved for women — before describing her past public appearances as “rambling” and “barely coherent.”
Finally, after spending an entire piece demeaning and all but formally censuring Griffin, the writer spends three measly paragraphs teasing her potential comeback (which is, according to him, a “Hail Mary.”) Reportedly, the comedian has been meeting with sympathetic figures including Jimmy Kimmel and J.J. Abrams in hopes of getting a TV or comedy special off the ground.
But after reading the writer’s lukewarm, sexist take on Griffin’s recent career moves, we can only hope that a more impartial writer assumes the mantle of chronicling Griffin’s eventual journey into our good graces. Whether you love her or hate her, Griffin has always embraced her outsider status in Hollywood, and will be forever remembered as one of the first successful comedians to embrace the queer community (even though she still lumps us together as “the gays,” which … ugh.)