The two previously worked together briefly on Fashion Police in 2015, after Griffin replaced the late Joan Rivers on the E! series, which Rivers executive-produced. Since Griffin exited the show two years ago, Rivers says she and the My Life on the D-List star have not stayed in touch.
On Monday, Rivers, 49, sat down with veteran journalist Larry King for an episode of Larry King Now, discussing her relationship with Griffin — and why she finds the 57-year-old comedian’s recent behavior so troubling.
“Did that end badly? Kathy wanted to replace her or something?” King, 83, asked Rivers about Griffin’s exit from the series, which is ending its run after more than 20 years at the end of this month.
Rivers said of Griffin parting ways with the show, “There was a lot of moving pieces and I just like to say it wasn’t a good fit.”
Since then, “she’s suffered a terrible lot. She can’t perform anywhere because of the Trump thing,” King said in reference to the photo shoot in which Griffin posed for a photo with a mask of President Donald Trump’s bloodied head in her hand earlier this year. (She later apologized for the photo.)
Rivers said she finds it “so sad and troubling that she’s so unhappy.”
“Because regardless of what went on between us with Fashion Police, you don’t want to see anybody so unhappy,” Rivers continued. “And again, that’s my mother coming out in me. You never want to see anybody that unhappy. And that to me is what’s so sad.”
Griffin quit the program in March 2015 after replacing Joan – who died unexpectedly in September 2014 – for just two months, leaving after co-host Giuliana Rancic made what many considered a racially insensitive comment about Zendaya’s hair. She posted a lengthy explanation for her exit on Twitter, writing, “I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference. I want to help women, gay kids, people of color, and anyone who feels underrepresented to have a voice and a LAUGH.”
During a talk at the 92nd Street Y in New York City to promote her new memoirThe Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation in May 2015, Rivers discussed the struggle of picking up the pieces of a “crumbled” show and her honest feelings about how Griffin handled her exit.
“Just like a family, when the matriarch dies, the sisters started fighting, someone tried to marry in, not a great match, live and learn,” Rivers said.
She said it was the way in which Griffin left the show that irked her the most.
“My biggest complaint was the feeling that she kind of s— all over my mother’s legacy in her statement on leaving,” she said. “I know everything was so heightened and everybody was so crazy, but that was my takeaway.”
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