Kathleen Mary Griffin (born November 4, 1960) is an American comedian and actress who has starred in television comedy specials and has released comedy albums. In 2007 and 2008, Griffin won Primetime Emmy Awards for her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. She has also appeared in supporting roles in films.
Kathleen Mary Griffin was born on November 4, 1960, in the Chicago suburb Oak Park, Illinois, to Mary Margaret "Maggie" Griffin (née Corbally, 1920 - 2020) and John Patrick Griffin, both of whom were first-generation Irish-Americans. Kathy Griffin has four older siblings; Kenny, Joyce (died 2017), Gary (died 2014), and John. Griffin described herself during her early years as "a kid who needed to talk, all the time". Her brother Gary and her sister Joyce both died from cancer.
Griffin was born in Oak Park, Illinois; in 1978, she moved to Los Angeles, where she studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and became a member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings. In the 1990s, Griffin began performing as a stand-up comedian and appeared as a guest star on television shows, including the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan (1996–2000).
On June 12, 2008, Griffin hosted the first Bravo! Canada A-List Awards, which included a parody of the "wardrobe malfunction" experienced by Janet Jackson in the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004. She also hosted the 2009 Bravo A-List Awards, which aired on April 15, 2009, and her Bravo special Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch aired beforehand. Shout! Factory released an extended version of the show on DVD in early 2010.
Griffin and Matt Moline divorced in May 2006. On Larry King Live, Griffin accused her husband of stealing $72,000 from her; Moline did not respond to the allegation publicly but stated he was saddened by it.
The second season of My Life on the D-List, which premiered June 2006, earned Griffin the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program, non-competition. She received it during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which was hosted by Carlos Mencia and aired on E! in September. Griffin said,
In 2007, Griffin commented on her aversion to making fun of celebrity friends; "There's nothing I won't do, but on the other hand I'm full of shit because that changes". Griffin and Hilton ended their feud after the death of Griffin's father, and Hilton appeared on an episode of Griffin's show in 2007.
Her father, John Patrick Griffin, died of heart failure on February 17, 2007; he was 91 years old. The episode related to his death was aired on June 19, 2007. Her mother, Maggie Griffin, who was featured in her reality show, died on March 17, 2020. In a post on her social media accounts, Griffin stated, "I am gutted. My best friend. I am shaking. I won't ever be prepared. I'm so grateful you guys got to be part of her life. You knew her. You loved her. She knew it. Oh, and OF COURSE she went on St. Patrick's Day."
Kathy Griffin served as a co-host of The View from May 2007 to September 2007, replacing the recently departed Rosie O'Donnell. According to Griffin she is banned from The View after talking about the show on her televised comedy special, Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell. She declined to discuss the ban on Access Hollywood As of August 2009, Griffin had been un-banned from The View and was a guest on September 18, 2009, and June 15, 2010. In an interview on The Talk, Griffin stated she has been re-banned from The View due to an argument with its co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
In July 2007, rumors that Griffin was dating Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak circulated. Griffin and Wozniak attended the 2007 Emmy Awards together. On Tom Green's House Tonight on February 6, 2008, Griffin confirmed her relationship with Wozniak. Wozniak and Griffin served as King and Queen of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley Fur Ball on April 5, 2008, in Santa Clara, California. In June 2008, it was confirmed that Griffin and Wozniak were no longer dating.
Griffin said she was banned from appearing on several television shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The View. She was re-banned from The View after making a joke about Barbara Walters. She says Ellen's producers told her they cannot have her "trashing celebrities" but she appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on September 11, 2007. Griffin made a joke during a 2005 E! televised event saying eleven-year-old actor Dakota Fanning had entered drug rehabilitation.
On June 10, 2008, Griffin released a comedy CD titled For Your Consideration. The disc was recorded at the ETK Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center For The Arts in Tracy, California on February 17, 2008. Griffin stated she decided to release the CD to try to win a Grammy award.
Griffin is an atheist. Speaking to Sacramento's Outword Magazine, Griffin said; " ...I think I'm getting more atheist because of the way the country is getting more into bible-thumping". She also describes herself as a "non-believer". In her book Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, Griffin said that while in high school, she fell away from the Roman Catholic Church. She considered becoming a Unitarian but was not sure what that would involve. On March 9, 2008, Kathy Griffin became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.
She placed 17th on Oxygen's 2007 list of "The 50 Funniest Women Alive". In 2009, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.
The Bravo reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (2005–2010) became a ratings hit for the network and earned her two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality Program. Griffin has released six comedy albums, all of which received Grammy Award nominations. Her first album For Your Consideration (2008) made her the first female comedian to debut at the top of the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. In 2009, she released her autobiography Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin. After being nominated for six years in a row for the Grammy for Best Comedy Album, she won the award in 2014.
In a July 2009 episode of My Life on the D-List, Griffin used profanity in an Octomom joke during her routine at New York's Apollo Theater. Griffin said she received a letter banning her from the venue.
On August 9, 2009, Griffin attended the Teen Choice Awards with Levi Johnston and subsequently interviewed him on Larry King Live. In the interview, Griffin and Johnston joked that they were in a serious relationship.
On August 25, 2009, Griffin released a second comedy album, Suckin' It for the Holidays, in another bid for a Grammy.
On September 8, 2009, Ballantine Books published Griffin's memoir, titled Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, which debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list. A week prior, she released her second comedy album Suckin' It for the Holidays; it was her second bid to win a Grammy Award. It was announced on November 3, 2009, that Griffin was to host ABC's new show Let's Dance, on which celebrity contestants would have re-enacted famous dance routines while competing for a $250,000 grand prize for their favorite charity.
Griffin is a long-time supporter of the Aid for AIDS annual fundraiser Best in Drag Show in Los Angeles, and hosted the opening of the show for more than five years. In November 2009, Aid For AIDS presented Kathy Griffin with an AFA Angel Award at their silver anniversary celebration.
Griffin hosted CNN's New Year's Eve broadcast on December 31, 2009, along with Anderson Cooper. As Cooper talked about the Balloon boy hoax, Griffin said "fucking". Although Griffin was rumored to have been banned from future CNN broadcasts, she co-hosted the show with Cooper until 2017. In 2017, CNN terminated Griffin from its New Year's Eve Broadcast after Griffin she pictures of herself holding a bloody, model decapitated head resembling President Donald Trump. Griffin has also guest-starred in a 2009 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, playing a lesbian activist.
Griffin received her third Grammy nomination for Kathy Griffin: Does the Bible Belt in 2010,.
In March 2010, Griffin helped organize a rally in Washington, D.C., to advocate the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell". She stated she organized the rally after meeting with several closeted gay people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Griffin held meetings with several Members of Congress to encourage its repeal; she also organized a rally in Freedom Plaza.
Griffin has recorded numerous standup comedy specials for HBO and Bravo. For the latter network, she has recorded sixteen television specials, breaking the Guinness World record for the number of aired television specials on any network. In 2011, she also became the first comedian to have four specials televised in a year. Griffin is an LGBTQ activist who supports same-sex marriage and the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell". She has participated in two United Service Organizations (USO) tours. Griffin is known for her conversational style and statements about celebrities, religion and sexuality, including holding a mask stylized as Donald Trump's severed head in 2017, which became the basis of her concert film A Hell of a Story (2019).
Griffin is a long-time critic of Sarah Palin and has made fun of Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin, using the Palin family as material for her comedy routines. In March 2011, Sarah Palin responded to Griffin by calling her a "bully". In her reality television show, Griffin visited the Palin family home in Wasilla, Alaska, and invited Palin to attend her stand-up show in Anchorage, Alaska. Griffin has also poked fun at Willow Palin as a result of Palin's Facebook statements on homosexuality.
On March 7, 2011, while appearing on The Howard Stern Show, Griffin announced she was romantically involved with actor and former NFL practice-squad player Isaiah Mustafa. Mustafa later stated he was single.
On January 7, 2012, it was announced that Griffin would host a weekly one-hour talk show on the channel Kathy, which would consist of standup routines, "rant about pop culture", and celebrity interviews. On April 8, 2013, during a live standup performance in Cincinnati, Ohio, Griffin announced that her show would not be renewed for a third season. She later confirmed it on her Twitter account. According to FOX 411, Bravo was planning to film several comedy specials starring Griffin after the show ended.
On May 4, 2012, the full length version of "I'll Say It", the theme song of her show Kathy, was released to iTunes as a single. On August 20, 2012, Griffin released a seven-track EP containing dance remixes of "I'll Say It".
On June 13, 2014, it was announced that Griffin would host the 41st Daytime Emmy Awards. For the first time in the event's four-decade history, the show bypassed a network television airing for a live online streaming media event. The ceremony took place on June 22, 2014. Griffin's performance was well-received by critics.
In May 2017, Griffin was dropped by Squatty Potty as a spokesperson. CNN fired her from its New Year's Eve broadcast with Anderson Cooper. Cooper said, "For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate." All of Griffin's remaining scheduled tour dates were canceled by their venues. In August 2017, Griffin retracted her apology during an interview on Australian television and again on Skavlan in November that year.
On May 30, 2017, Griffin posted a video of herself holding "a mask styled to look like the severed, bloody head" of U.S. President Donald Trump, which was posted on her Instagram and Twitter accounts. She wrote: "I caption this 'there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his ... wherever", referencing a comment Trump had made about Megyn Kelly. The video was from a session with photographer Tyler Shields, who is known for producing "shocking" imagery. Griffin later took down the image and apologized for posting the image, saying she went too far and adding, "I beg for your forgiveness".
On June 2, 2017, an attorney for Griffin, Lisa Bloom, stated, "Like many edgy works of artistic expression, the photo could be interpreted different ways. But Griffin never imagined that it could be misinterpreted as a threat of violence against Trump. That was never what she intended. She has never threatened or committed an act of violence against anyone." Griffin said the Trump family was "trying to ruin my life forever".
In August 2017, Griffin announced a worldwide comedy tour. The title "Laugh Your Head Off" was a reference to her depiction of an effigy of U.S. President Donald Trump's severed head. The tour visited major cities in Singapore, Australia, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and many more European, and Asian cities. Several shows sold out within minutes of going on sale, leading to Griffin adding several shows to the lineup. She continued with a North America leg of the tour, commencing May 23, 2018, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and including both Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
On October 28, 2017, Griffin uploaded a YouTube video titled "Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story", which is about the backlash she received for the Trump photo controversy. It was the basis for her A Hell of a Story concert film. She said she was under a federal investigation by the Justice Department for two months and was on the No Fly List during that time. She also said she was put on the Interpol list, the Five Eyes list, and had been detained at every airport during her Laugh Your Head Off World Tour.
From 2012 until November 2018, Griffin was in a relationship with marketing executive Randy Bick. They reconciled in April 2019. She resided in the Hollywood Hills from 2004 to 2016. She has resided in Bel Air since. Griffin married Bick at her home on January 1, 2020, in a ceremony officiated by comedian Lily Tomlin.
In 2020, Griffin hosted the Str8Up Gay Porn Awards.