The passing of Joan Rivers was heartbreaking and tragic – she was one of the greats, as well as one of my favorite comedians of all time. But her passing was also perhaps the end of an era – the “tear you down” form of comedy that became Joan’s trademark. It didn’t matter how A the A-lister was – no one was safe from Joan’s cutting barbs. And I admit – it was funny! No matter how mean she could be, I usually found myself laughing. It was Joan, for God’s sake. I grew up with her and she always got a free pass in my book. But now I’m seeing things a little differently. Maybe now it’s time to move on.
Last month, Fashion Police co-host Giuliana Rancic came under fire for some pretty ignorant remarks about young star Zendaya Coleman. By the end of February, co-host Kelly Osbourne decided to leave the show over the racial controversy. Then last week, new host Kathy Griffin announced that she was stepping down – after filming only seven episodes. Why? Well, the tear-down culture just wasn’t for her. I guess a segment called “Whore Score” was too much, even for a shock-value comedian like Griffin. She made the following statement on Twitter:
Admittedly, I am not a huge Kathy Griffin fan. I just don’t think she’s funny. But I have to give her serious credit for walking away from something when it felt wrong – especially something that was probably fairly lucrative. The one thing that sticks out most to me is when she says, “I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference.” I mean, that’s pretty powerful when you think about it. It’s certainly a new way to approach fashion commentary and it’s a strong stance against the idea that we have to criticize others to crack a joke. Sure, let’s talk about who had the best gowns at the Oscars. Yes, let’s all shake our heads when something like this happens. But maybe we need to give this take-down culture a rest.
Naturally, E! announced yesterday that Fashion Police will be taking a hiatus. Since, you know, half the cast just quit. The network released the following statement yesterday:
“E!’s comedy series Fashion Police is going on hiatus and will return in September. We look forward to taking this opportunity to refresh the show before the next awards season. Our talented co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski, along with executive producer Melissa Rivers, will continue their roles as we evolve the show into its next chapter for the legions of Fashion Police fans around the world.”
I understand the desire to keep the show going, from the network’s perspective, but I’d like to propose that we just let Fashion Police die already. Maybe we need to abolish this brand of comedy, where it’s acceptable to tear apart a woman for wearing baggy sweats on her way to the gym. I mean, the tabloids are bad enough – do we have to do it for laughs, too? I am an avid reader of Go Fug Yourself, which I think maintains a perfect balance of humor and respect. Maybe E! can find a way to discuss fashion without all the shade. I’m not sure if that’s possible, but I’d like to see it happen. I encourage E! to try. Just…you know, maybe not with Giuliana Rancic.