Comedian Kathy Griffin has built her career on making people uncomfortable, and on New Year’s Eve she did just that by pretending to kiss Anderson Cooper’s big business on live television. It wasn’t particularly funny, nor was it offensive … but plenty of people got their panties in a bunch over it.
To her credit, Kathy is standing behind her stupid joke, refusing to apologize to her uptight critics. For the past six years, Kathy and Anderson have hosted a pretty horrible live broadcast on CNN covering the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square. Their unscripted banter is funny at times, but, for the most part, it’s painful to watch … as this “controversial” bit aptly demonstrates.
Basically, what happened is this … Shortly after midnight, the broadcast shifted from Kathy and Anderson in Times Square to a live report from Bumfuck, Maine, where a correspondent described the town’s completely unsanitary New Year’s custom of kissing a sculpture of an eight-foot sardine that drops from the top of a building at midnight. (I would have gone for the herpes angle here, but Kathy had other ideas ….) Meanwhile, on the split-screen, Kathy knelt down and pretended to kiss Anderson’s “sardine.” Anderson handled the whole thing with his characteristic giggly aplomb, and everyone at home cringed (and maybe half-smiled). Unfortunately, Kathy wouldn’t let it go and made several more attempts. And it was slightly less funny each time.
For the record, her head was vaguely at his crotch level. There was no contact. There was no suggestive movements. They were both in winter coats. It was just a stupid bit. Kathy appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman last night and was quite clear that she had no regrets.
“If you think this is the part where I’m gonna apologize for trying to go down on Anderson Cooper, you are sorely mistaken.”
Nor should she apologize. This is her sixth consecutive year co-hosting and she’s obviously the spunk of the show. CNN clearly expects that she’s going to do that kind of thing and that’s why they keep inviting her back. Anderson himself made a statment prior to the broadcast, anticipating Kathy’s nonsense.
“As always, I await New Year’s Eve with Kathy Griffin with grave reservations and tremendous fear, and I want to apologize in advance to anyone she may offend/assault/attempt to kiss.”
The Parent’s Television Council has denounced Kathy personally, as well as CNN for condoning her behavior. On the Letterman show, Kathy said that:
“People are tweeting things like, ‘I didn’t even watch the show, but now I have to explain to my children what you did.'”
This strikes me as odd for several reasons. Of course some kids are allowed to stay up later than usual for New Year’s Eve. That’s fine. Isn’t it odd, however, that kids young enough to require special permission to stay up until midnight would choose to watch CNN without their parents? If they’re mature enough to choose to watch CNN after midnight, then they are probably mature enough that they don’t need their parents to explain to them what Kathy was doing. If they aren’t mature enough, then those parents ought to more carefully monitor what their fucking kids are watching.
I will admit that, as a comedian, Kathy can be grating and occasionally offensive. She very often beats a joke until any speck of humor is long dead. But way too much is being made of this small, unfunny, impromptu bit. Lighten up, everyone.