After the tragic death of Joan Rivers last September, I'm sure we all remember that Kathy Griffin took the spot vacated by Rivers on E!'s Fashion Police , a transition that had to be handled very delicately, because the show was, of course, known for Joan's brand of humor and fans wouldn't want Griffin to seem like she was copying Rivers or like she was taking the show too far in a new direction. And the whole situation was complicated even more when Griffin later left the show, citing "creative differences" after cohost Giuliana Rancic made what some thought were racially-tinged comments during a segment about Zendaya. Griffin also later spoke out about her issues with the show in general, saying how just commenting on the dresses people were wearing wasn't quite what she wanted to do, that that was more suited to Rivers' brand of humor, with the "one liners and the zingers". Hearing those comments at the time, I couldn't help but wonder how Joan Rivers' daughter Melissa might feel about them... and now we have our answer: not great.
As Melissa told Hoda Kotb during a talk at the 92nd Street Y,
I’m just going to say it wasn’t a match on a lot of levels. My biggest complaint was the feeling that she kind of s--t all over my mother’s legacy in her statement on leaving. And I know that that was not an intentional reading of it, but that’s how I felt. But I know that wasn’t how it was intended.
When you're talking about someone taking a crap all over your mother's legacy, it can sound a little harsh, but I actually really admire Melissa speaking her mind about Griffin's involvement, and I think Joan would, as well. Melissa's self-aware enough to know that her reading of the situation isn't the way Griffin intended it, but that doesn't change the bad taste it left in her mouth, and I appreciate that she's not shy about sharing her own take on the situation. She continued,
Everything was so heightened and everybody was so crazy, but that was my takeaway by [Griffin] calling the comedy and the style of it old-fashioned. I understand what you’re doing — you’re trying to save yourself, but don’t crap all over my mother to do it, and that’s how I felt. They took the last thing I had and smashed it.
And she's not wrong! Griffin did make comments about how the show might have affected Joan's memory, saying:
Fashion Police is not Joan’s legacy. As a 54-year-old female comic still in the game, what Joan did was so much bigger than that.
And while I understand what Griffin is saying, it isn't really her call to make. So props to you, Melissa, for putting your feelings out there and not shying away from the truth. I have a feeling nothing would make your mom more proud.
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