After the world mourned the tragic and sudden passing of Joan Rivers, many were left wondering: What will happen to Fashion Police, the snarky E! show that was a guilty pleasure, thanks to Rivers’ tongue-in-cheek humor? What followed was nothing short of a hot mess that the comic legend would not have been happy about — and her daughter Melissa is still reeling.
After Joan Rivers passed away, Fashion Police, to put it bluntly, went to crap. Funny woman Kathy Griffin stepped in to fill Rivers’ shoes, and while the two women share similar brands of humor, it just wasn’t a match — so much so that she abruptly quit. And then, of course, there was the tasteless Zendaya/dreadlock comment made by cohost Giuliana Rancic. And then Kelly Osbourne quit. Within a matter months after Rivers’ passing, the show completely imploded. But the thing that seems to be bugging Melissa Rivers the most about this whole mess is the way in which Kathy Griffin left the show.
Wednesday morning, Melissa sat down for an interview with Hoda Kotb for The Today Show, where she candidly confessed that the manner in which Griffin chose to exit the show rubbed her the wrong way. “My biggest complaint was the feeling that she kind of shit all over my mother’s legacy in her statement on leaving,” Melissa said. “And I know that that was not an intentional reading of it, but that’s how I felt… That was my takeaway, by [her] calling the comedy and the style of it old-fashioned. It’s like, I understand what you’re doing, you’re trying to save yourself, but don’t crap all over my mother to do it.”
When Griffin made the decision to leave the show, she released a statement essentially saying that she couldn’t get on board with a show that was arbitrarily picking on people’s appearances. “When I chose to step into the shoes of my beloved Joan Rivers at Fashion Police, I was thrilled to continue her legacy as a woman being brash and eccentric on television,” Griffin said. “I am a freedom-loving female and gay rights activist who loves to find the funny in all people, attitudes, beliefs and appearances, but only when the context permits intelligent humor.”
Melissa, understandably, felt that Griffin was taking a dig at her mother’s legacy — and it’s hard to disagree with her on that. Griffin did, after all, appear to be trying to jump off of a sinking ship while insulting the show in the process. But was she insulting Joan as a person? I’m not so sure.
Now, clearly, Griffin knew what she was getting involved with when she signed up for Fashion Police. I mean, it’s hard to believe that she didn’t realize she was going to be a hosting a show whose entire premise is, well, making fun of people. So her statement about only finding the funny in appearances when it’s “intelligent humor” is a little ridiculous. However. She went above and beyond to compliment Joan and her sense of humor at the same time. It’s obvious that Joan is an idol of Griffin’s, and a person she has the utmost respect for.
Like Melissa said, her interpretation of Griffin’s comments is just how she personally feels — and no can tell her she’s wrong about that. But, as an outsider, I have a much different takeaway from Griffin’s statement. It seems like she was digging at the show, not Joan.
Bottom line? Fashion Police simply can’t survive without Joan Rivers. Yes, it was snarky. Yes, it was rude. Yes, it was controversial. But it takes a very special person to be able to do all that while still legitimately being funny. And I’m not so sure there’s anyone else out there who’s got the chops.