Gay Iconography: Do You Love Or Loathe Kathy Griffin?
The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but why is it that some figures amass more of a gay audience? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts.
While one could call many (or even most) of the gay icons we've discussed "divisive," few inspire the same kind of love or hate response as Kathy Griffin. The sitcom, reality and stand-up comedy star has been a vocal supporter of LGBT issues and her outspoken, celebrity-heavy routine has been embraced by (many in) the gay community.
Though bawdy and brassy is right up some folks' alleys, Griffins' loudmouth persona rubs some folks the wrong way. Her caustic Hollywood takedowns may be beloved by the Bravo-set, it's earned her a fair share of detractors, as well.
Have a laugh with some classic Kathy moments (or proceed directly to the comment to vent your disdain), AFTER THE JUMP …
Most people were first introduced to Griffin as the character Vickie on Suddenly Susan in 1996. She amassed television credits on shows like Seinfeld and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Her gay audience, however, was growing in her club performances. She told HuffPo Live last year: "I started doing the gay clubs and getting a better response [to my act]. I find that gay audiences are more raucous, somewhat political and knowledgable."
After working in the industry for years, Griffin found success with Bravo's My Life On the D-List. Named after one of her comedy specials, the show chronicled Griffin's life as a self-described sub-C-List celeb. Her self-deprecating humor only further endeared her to gay audiences. "Certainly what that show was about was being in the Hollywood community but still being an outsider … " she said in an interivew with MetroWeekly in 2012. "So I feel that's something the LGBT community and I have in common."
My Life On the D-List was a ratings and critical success. All six seasons were nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program. The show won the award in 2007 and 2008. In true Griffin fashion, her acceptance speech, above, ruffled feathers with its infamous "Suck it, Jesus!" line. Griffin has also earned six Grammy nominations (including one win) for her comedy albums.
Griffin holds the record for the most comedy specials for one network with 2013's Calm Down Gurrl marking her sixteenth for Bravo. She's also the first comedian to have four television specials in a year. Paula Abdul, Justin Bieber and (especially) Ryan Seacrest have all been skewered in her act.
Griffin doesn't only use "her gays" as a punchline. She's spoken out for marriage equality, supported Aid for AIDS and organized a rally in 2010 to encourage the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (which drew criticism from some). "As a woman and a feminist, I very much admire the way the LGBT community sticks together," she said.
Where do you land? Are you on Team Griffin, or do you wish not to be counted among her gays? Let us know in the comments.