What: An awkward but quietly revealing local news interview.
Who: Resilient comedian Kathy Griffin
Why we care: After releasing her infamous beheading photo in 2017 and having the president and all his minions tweet about it at length, Kathy Griffin found herself persona non grata in many comedy spheres. She lost all her regular TV gigs, like CNN’s New Year’s Eve show, and was no longer invited on E! and Bravo shows as a regular guest. People called bomb threats into comedy clubs she’d booked, causing the owners to cancel her shows. She even became the subject of a federal investigation. It’s all chronicled in a recent concert film, A Hell of a Story, which she self-financed. (Notably, she filmed the special at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center rather than a more traditional comedy venue.) Griffin was promoting A Hell of a Story on local news station KTLA Channel 5 earlier this week when she encountered some of the very attitudes that have contributed to her seeming excommunication from the comedy world.
“By the way, I still do not have one single day of paid work ahead of me for the rest of my life,” she says at one point in the interview, while wearing a shirt that serves as A Hell of a Story signage. “Now you tell me that’s not because I’m a 58-year-old female in comedy. Yeah, take that, guys who make the decisions.”
One of the anchors in the show immediately objects to the characterization of the comedy world as unfriendly to women of a certain age. “I think there’s a lot of 58-year-old comedians that are working out there,” says the self-appointed expert on the inner workings of the comedy business, Mark Kriski.
This is where things take a turn. Griffin challenges Kriski to name five women. It stands to reason she wants him to name five thriving female comedians over the age of 58 but not necessarily. In any case, the anchor’s response gives away the whole game.
“Uhh, I’m not, uh, into the comedy thing,” he says.
It’s amazing how someone who admittedly isn’t “into the comedy thing” somehow is so sure that women in comedy don’t face aging discrimination that just one moment ago, he felt the need to interrupt an unimpeachable expert on the topic to correct her. It’s this exact kind of assumption-based arrogance that fuels the gender disparity in comedy and every other field.
In any case, Griffin doesn’t let Kriski off the hook, and you can watch her amusing retort in the clip below.
Every once in a while, Momma has to get a little savage. pic.twitter.com/ur0CaVvtuu
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) October 23, 2019
He makes her point for her.