Dan Choi | Human Rights Campaign | Kathy Griffin | News

Kathy Griffin's 'My Life on the HRC-List' Episode Panned

The Washington Post's Hank Stuever gives a big thumbs down to Kathy Griffin's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" episode, which airs tonight.

Choi_griffin Griffin's trip to D.C. for a Human Rights Campaign rally on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was well-publicized earlier this year after it was crashed by GetEQUAL activists and Lt. Dan Choi, who left Griffin and HRC President Joe Solmonese in the dust by continuing down the road to make the real headlines at the White House with activism that felt more visceral and effective — chaining himself to the White House fence and getting arrested.

Writes Stuever:

Tuesday's episode is worth watching more as an exercise in the meta-rituals of the typical Washington celebrity-advocate visit, and how such photo ops fail to accomplish much. While Griffin's trip feels "behind the scenes," it is in fact just another manufactured scene.

She revels in playing the faux-naif, unaware of the basic branches of government. Thus, King and Bash come by Griffin's room at the Mayflower Hotel, to school her on the concept of a majority whip. (S&M jokes ensue, and fizzle.)

She leads a noontime rally on Freedom Plaza. She is bossed around by staffers at the Human Rights Campaign, who are seen here doing what they do best, which is attempting to micromanage the gay rights movement. "The HRC has been fighting for gay rights since I was calling gay bingo at Hamburger Mary's," Griffin quips, on her way to accept an ally award at one of the group's many fundraising banquets.

Griffin also apparently makes the mistake of engaging Barney Frank:

At HRC's Rhode Island Avenue NW headquarters, Griffin is run through talking points on the DADT debate. Every time she tries to crack a joke, her Washington handlers pretend to glower at her. Accompanied by HRC head Joe Solmonese to Frank's office, Griffin tells the congressman that "I need [DADT] to be repealed by Thursday, because I'm leaving Friday" and if it's not, "that's a bitter pill to swallow."

"My guess, Kathy, is it's not the only pill you've swallowed this week," the Massachusetts congressman replies. The air in the room goes staler than normal.

Though I'm a big Kathy Griffin fan, I fear she was using HRC here (at the same time HRC was using her) and nobody gained from it.

(via americablog)

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  1. Ooooh, Barney got a good burn in!!!!

    Kathy is annoying. She talks about gay men like they are pets or her little minions, and most of us are insecure and dumb enough to laugh and jump when see says jump like her little monkeys

    Posted by: Mike C. | Jul 13, 2010 12:46:25 PM

  2. Gotta love Hank Stuever -- it's nice to have real TV criticism back in the Washington Post.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 13, 2010 1:08:16 PM

  3. I'm so tired of all of these horrible women (Kathy, Bethenny Frankel, etc.) constantly talking about "my gays" or "the gays." We're not all your idiotic fans, just looking for the next laugh and/or circuit party. Stop using us to push your vapid products.

    Posted by: Dave | Jul 13, 2010 1:09:19 PM

  4. Hank Whatsisname doesn't hold a handle to Tom Shales.

    Posted by: Jimmy | Jul 13, 2010 1:20:55 PM

  5. I love Kathy and think she's very smart and funny, but I must agree. Her show feels far more 'produced' than it used to and a lot of her antics to get publicity no longer seem rooted in a funny or interesting concept. Performing in Iraq - amazing. Faking being an idiot to seem like a fish out of water in DC? Lame.

    It used to be Kathy was a talented comic whose schtick was fame whoring. But it seems her publicity seeking behavior has become more important than being witty, engaging, subversive and clever.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 13, 2010 1:26:40 PM

  6. Of course the Washington Post is going to pan the show. That rag is nothing but yellow journalism!

    Posted by: ty | Jul 13, 2010 1:31:05 PM

  7. Aren't you all tired yet of Kathy Griffin exploiting our community for her own personal monetary gain? Stop feeding the beast and she'll just go away. I am definitely NOT "her gay". She is a self-serving loudmouth who has done nothing for our community.

    Posted by: gaylib | Jul 13, 2010 1:56:35 PM

  8. Kathy cracks me up. And actually Frank does too.

    Posted by: Tranquilo | Jul 13, 2010 2:05:26 PM

  9. Gaylib, that's lame. exploitation requires coercion, or at the very least a lack of options. no one's forcing you to watch her show, so chillax.

    personally, i *want* companies, entertainers, and politicos to pander to my demographic -- that's how to get things i actually want!

    Posted by: deegeezee | Jul 13, 2010 2:17:43 PM

  10. as for Dan Choi -- chaining himself to the WH "felt effective?" something either is or is not effective.

    i would argue that chaining oneself to the wrong branch of gov't while giving repubs ammunition to say that gay service-members actually *do* undermine discipline and cohesion doesn't "feel effective" to me, at all.

    plus, there are a lot of higher ranked people out there with more impressive resumes who are speaking up (without flouting military regulations or laws) who were outed by 3rd parties and kicked out of the service. Choi came out on MSNBC.

    Posted by: caroler | Jul 13, 2010 2:25:34 PM

  11. I don't think you know what exploitation means deegee. It is using a person or group for ones own advantage without regard to what it does to them. It is using people as a means to an end which does not benefit them. Kathy uses our oppressed status as fodder for her television show. The community receives nothing in return. she gets paid. That's exploitation. Just because some brain dead gays love her doesn't mean she's using them too.

    Posted by: gaylib | Jul 13, 2010 2:30:40 PM

  12. Don't fuck with Frank -- love him or hate him, Barney is fast.

    Posted by: JauntyJohn | Jul 13, 2010 2:40:53 PM

  13. I'm a Kathy fan too, but the past few seasons seem to be less-funny than she used to be. Her stand up is still good, but the show hasn't been the same since Jessica left.

    Posted by: ravewulf | Jul 13, 2010 2:41:31 PM

  14. The biggest problem that one ought have with kathy griffin is that she's unfunny and highly obnoxious. Anyone amused by her act is similarly unfunny. That is, those that get a chuckle from her were born without a sense of humor and are incapable of cultivating one. They no longer invite her to entertain terminally ill children for a reason...and it's not because they were having a good time...because committing suicide with an IV is not easy or fun.

    And of course this was a photo-op for HRC and kathy...I'm glad it came crashing down around their ears--it's real people's lives being affected here...not the HRC elites and a comedian that couldn't get laughs from a recording.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 13, 2010 2:42:31 PM

  15. Oh CAROLER, the whole "Obama can't do anything, he's really helpless" defence..

    try harder.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Jul 13, 2010 2:56:24 PM

  16. Kathy is Kathy, always was and always will be. Anyone who signs her on to a cause or for an appearance should know going in that it may be unpredictable and sometimes a mess but it will get air time and P.R.

    As far as exploitation, I think there may be something a bit more subtle going on. Sure, she treats us as novelties but what straight woman hasn't? It may just be that she's pointing that out (through self-effacing humor) and how silly it is to treat us or any other group as "different" when at the end of the day, we're all the same.

    And yes, her shtick is getting a little tired.

    Posted by: johnny | Jul 13, 2010 2:56:52 PM

  17. Kathy has been funny in the past. I think she's peaking at two Emmeys. Frank is good at the retort, for sure, and as worn out as he is its remarkable how sharp his mind still is.

    Is that expression "jumped the shark" still in use?

    Posted by: Fahd | Jul 13, 2010 2:57:56 PM

  18. I haven't seen the episode yet but this seems pretty typical of what Kathy does on the show. It could be hilarious.

    Posted by: db | Jul 13, 2010 3:00:59 PM

  19. I think she is entertaining at times but isn't necessarily funny in a comedic sense. An adult running around and speaking her mind like a child who doesn't know any better can be amusing but ulimtately it just becomes a tired gimmick.

    Trashing celebrities in bitchy ways panders to the bitchy gay men out there who usually enjoy that kind of nasty back and forth in their personal lives. If you find that entertaining and funny, that's cool.

    However, if you are interested in real comedy, there are definitely better comedians out there.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 13, 2010 3:21:12 PM

  20. Kathy's a hoot. Unfunny? I think many gays appreciate that she's been a supporter of gay rights for a long time. Not everyone is going to support gay rights the way the nasty commenters here want them to. Maybe you queens should just be thankful that one of the most popular comedians today supports equal rights for gays, then go on your bitter way. She's a comedian for God's sake. If you don't like her, then don't watch her. But why insult other gay people who find her funny? Most of her fans aren't really looking to angry, judgmental queens for approval.

    Posted by: AnonII | Jul 13, 2010 3:24:21 PM

  21. I love how this turned out on all sides. It was movement theater at it's best!

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Jul 13, 2010 4:16:21 PM

  22. Kathy is a publicity whore (it's her job) and the HRC is a manipulative group of whiners trying to save their jobs on the way to a cocktail party. Small wonder this event won't go down in the history books.

    I wonder if the HRC would actually accomplish something if any of them got laid once in a while.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Jul 13, 2010 4:32:07 PM

  23. If not liking Kathy Griffin makes a gay man an "angry, jealous queen"--what does it make a straight person who doesn't like, for example, Andrew Dice Clay--or thinks he's unfunny?

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 13, 2010 5:33:50 PM

  24. Gaylib, she doesn't *have* to do episodes on gay issues, nor did she have to ask her wedding guests to donate to AMFAR in lieu of giving gifts.

    i suppose you feel "exploited" by Towleroad's advertisers, as well?

    Posted by: deegeezee | Jul 13, 2010 5:36:46 PM

  25. GRIDLOCK, just because Obama's not acting quickly doesn't make Choi a great spokesperson.

    Posted by: caroler | Jul 13, 2010 5:39:31 PM

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