Tsk Tsk, Kathy Griffin

Curmudgeon though he may be, The Curmudgeon has never been fond of comedians whose stock in trade is belittling other people.  He’s never had anything less than contempt, for example, for Don Rickles, and he has no use for some of those people who only seem to work on Comedy Central roasts.  (By the way, when you watched those old Dean Martin roasts, didn’t you always get the impression that the roasters were roasting people they knew – and knew well?  And when you watch a Comedy Central roast, don’t you get the impression that the roasters are roasting people they don’t know and only just met?  And isn’t the latter a whole lot nastier than the former?)

For this reason, The Curmudgeon has never been too keen on Kathy Griffin.  He suspects that she could probably be pretty funny but has very limited patience for someone whose humor always seems to come by denigrating others.

Late last week The Curmudgeon was channel-surfing and came upon Ms. Griffin performing the monologue for her new program; only a network like Bravo and a person like Andy Cohen would give this misanthrope her own show.  Anyhow, Ms. Griffin was talking about being at a restaurant where she saw three celebrities dining together:  Denzel Washington, Mekhi Phifer, and Jaleel White; the latter is television’s “Urkel” character.

Ms. Griffin simply could not believe that a big star like Denzel Washington could possibly be socializing with someone of such lower status like White/Urkel.

The Curmudgeon has witnessed this kind of warped thinking before.  In particular, he recalls hearing more than one person ridicule the coupling of Barbra Streisand and James Brolin.  What could a star of the magnitude of Streisand possibly see in a second-rate actor like Brolin, they ask.  Well, aside from Brolin being better-looking than any man has a right to be, what does their talent have to do with their relationship?  Why should Griffin assume that because they operate on different levels within their field of endeavor, Washington and White/Urkel could not possibly have anything in common that would constitute the basis for a friendship?  Might they not come from the same hometown, live in the same community, send their kids to the same schools, support the same causes, attend the same church, or just like hanging out with one another?

Are these critics of the relationships of others suggesting that we should pick our friends or mates based on their talent or their level of accomplishment in their chosen fields?  Maybe The Curmudgeon has had it all wrong all these years, looking for someone with whom he is compatible, someone with whom he shares interests and values, someone who is kind and warm and intelligent and compassionate and good-humored?  Maybe he should have been focusing on people who have roughly the same level of skill in manipulating nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and the occasional preposition or someone who runs around her backhand like The Curmudgeon does or even someone who has a similar figure in box number one on her W-2 form.

Maybe not.  Maybe Kathy Griffin is just an idiot.  Maybe Kathy Griffin should reflect that she probably has friends in the entertainment business and that by her own standards, they are the ones slumming by having a relationship with her.

It probably won’t happen.  People who make a living belittling others probably lack the capacity for self-reflection needed to recognize that conducting themselves this way is simply wrong.  If Kathy Griffin had such a capacity, she probably would have chosen to pursue her career in a manner that doesn’t require her success to come at the expense of others.

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