Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin Headshot

Actress • Comedian

Birth Date: November 4, 1960

Age: 63 years old

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois

Known for her sharp-tongued, no-holds-barred critique of celebrities, comedienne Kathy Griffin built a career out of clawing her way onto Hollywood's A-list, while simultaneously making fun of every aspect of showbiz. Her catty observations and fearless targeting of celebrities, politicians and newsmakers brought the redhead more than her share of controversy, but she evolved into one of the top ratings-grabbers at Bravo - home to her Emmy Award-winning reality series, "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" (Bravo, 2005-10). Prior to establishing herself as a snarky gossip, gay rights champion and all-around vivacious "personality," Griffin made her mark playing Vickie Groener Rubenstein, Brooke Shields' acerbic co-worker on the NBC sitcom, "Suddenly Susan" (1996-2000). Even as Griffin's own level of fame grew to the point that she was eventually working alongside the celebrities she skewered, she never lost the self-deprecating persona that was the second key component of her act, calling attention to her many plastic surgeries and campily embracing the inherent D-status of the reality TV world, even as this "nobody" had the power to rankle Steven Spielberg and Barbara Walters.

Born Kathleen Griffin on Nov. 4, 1960, Griffin was raised in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. She was the youngest of five children of John, who managed an electronics store, and Maggie, a hospital administrator. Growing up, Griffin was taunted by schoolmates for her freckles and wiry red hair, but the sharp wit she developed as a defense proved to be the starting point of her career in comedy. Following her graduation from high school, Griffin spent a short period of time attending a local junior college before opting to move to California, where her parents wanted to retire and Griffin wanted to try to break into show business. One of her first jobs was as an extra in a 1984 Pepsi commercial starring The Jacksons. In fact it was during this shoot that Griffin, along with hundreds of others in L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium, witnessed Michael Jackson's head infamously catching fire. Griffin would go on to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute but fell in love with comedy performing through her training and eventual slot on the company roster of the famed Groundlings theater group. While performing regularly with the troupe over seven years and developing her stand-up at other venues around town, Griffin working her way onto the screen with guest roles on sitcoms like "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96), "Dream On" (HBO, 1990-96) and "Mad About You" (NBC, 1992-99). She also made brief character appearances in B-grade feature comedies like "It's Pat" (1994), "Shakes the Clown" (1992) - as well as Quentin Tarantino's biggest hit and the 1990s definitive film, "Pulp Fiction" (1994).

Griffin's reputation on L.A.'s alternative comedy scene and the buzz generated by her one-woman show "A Hot Cup of Chat" led to her first breakthrough. In 1995, she headlined her own HBO "Half Hour Comedy Special," and the following year, was cast as a regular on the short-lived FOX variety show, "Saturday Night Special" (Fox, 1996). Following that show's cancellation, Griffin landed a plum "sidekick" role alongside Brooke Shields as a fellow columnist at a hip San Francisco magazine on the NBC sitcom, "Suddenly Susan" (1996-2000). While not a critic's favorite, the series' Thursday night time-slot brought in hefty ratings, and Griffin's sardonic, one-liner sass majorly boosted her career. Also in 1996, she made a memorable guest appearance on "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) as an overbearing, aspiring comedian who befriends Jerry only to score laughs by making him the butt of her stand-up jokes. Griffin unwittingly launched her lucrative future as a cable TV host in 1997, when she was tapped to host the first season of the Comedy Central stand-up showcase, "Premium Blend" (1997-2005). She served as co-host of the "Billboard Music Awards" (FOX, 1990- ) for three consecutive years beginning in 1998, the same year she headlined her first hour-long stand-up special, "A Hot Cup of Talk" (HBO, 1998).

Diversifying into voice-overs, Griffin landed a regular role on the animated adaptation of the comic strip "Dilbert" (UPN, 1999-2000), but around that same time, her main gig on "Suddenly Susan" was winding down. Several changes in the show's scheduling had weakened its ratings, and following the shocking suicide of fellow cast member David Strickland in 1999, the cast and producers seemingly lost their spirit for the project. "Suddenly Susan" was cancelled in 2000, but by that time Griffin had become a prominent TV personality, well-established as a catty, campy, and unpredictable Hollywood basher who was popping up everywhere. She guest-starred in an episode of Fox's sci-fi anchor, "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002), had a cameo in rapper Eminem's video for "The Real Slim Shady," and made for a sassy contestant on the primetime game show, "Weakest Link" (NBC, 2001-02). Amidst a dizzying schedule that included dozens of wisecracking appearances on "Hollywood Squares" (NBC, Syndicated, 1966-2004), "Whose Line is it Anyway?" (ABC, 1998-2003; ABC Family, 2004-06), and every conceivable daytime and nighttime talk show, Griffin whisked away to Hawaii where she embraced a long series of ridiculous stunts and emerged victorious on the reality series, "Celebrity Mole: Hawaii" (ABC, 2001-04), earning over $200,000 in prize money.

The stand-up comedy DVD "Kathy Griffin: Allegedly" was released in 2004, while her stand-up special "The D-List" (Bravo, 2004) - a reference to Hollywood's A-list and her significantly lower status - aired on Bravo the same year. Griffin's brand of humor proved an excellent match for the cable network's significant gay audience, and she evolved into one of their major draws following the comedy special, "Kathy Griffin Is... Not Nicole Kidman" (Bravo, 2005) and the launch of her own reality series, "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" (2005-10). Based on her popular stand-up routine, the unscripted series followed Griffin as she dealt with the drama of being a D-list celebrity - including behind the scenes interactions with her "main gays," her remarkably entertaining elderly parents, and her devoted husband, Matt Moline. Following the departure of fellow celeb-basher Joan Rivers from her post covering awards season for E!, Griffin was brought in to host E!'s "Live from the Red Carpet: The 2005 Golden Globe Awards." However, an unleashed Griffin went too far during her maiden red carpet outing, and her improvised running joke that child actress and "War of the Worlds" (2005) star Dakota Fanning had gone into rehab upset the film's executives and director Steven Spielberg. Though E! issued a formal apology, Griffin did not, and was replaced at the subsequent event by warm and fuzzy "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) host, Ryan Seacrest.

Taking the controversy in stride, Griffin appeared as a judge on the reality competition "Last Comic Standing" (NBC, 2003-08) and recorded another special, "Kathy Griffin: Strong Black Woman" (Bravo, 2006). That same year, she made the very public announcement that she had filed for divorce from Moline, alleging that her husband had been stealing money from her bank accounts. Fans were scratching their heads when, not long after, she launched into an unlikely pairing with Apple computer co-founder and well-known billionaire, Steve Wozniak. In early 2007, Griffin announced the death of her father, a fan favorite and supporting real life player on "The D-List." Viewers would later watch as Griffin learned of his declining health and subsequent death on camera - a heartbreaking moment for fans who had grown to love the no-nonsense, wine-drinking John Griffin each week and were, at the same time, touched by the comedian's vulnerability in the wake of her father's death. That year, she returned to the red carpet on Steve Wozniak's arm, but this time as an Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Reality Program for "My Life on the D-List." The sharp-tongued redhead still managed to incite controversy with an acceptance speech that singled out Jesus as someone she was not thankful to for the honor. The expected backlash from religious groups and conservative pundits was forthcoming, and she addressed all of it in her subsequent stand-up specials, "Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell" (Bravo, 2007) and "Kathy Griffin: Everybody Can Suck It" (Bravo, 2007).

Griffin went on to serve as a guest co-host on the morning talk show "The View" (ABC, 1997-) for four months, though when she was not chosen as a permanent host, her experiences there became fodder for her act and subsequently upset some people involved in the show - including executive producer Bill Geddie and Barbara Walters. Much to her amusement and that of her "D-list" viewers, she was eventually banned from the program, along with numerous other talk shows too numerous to list. The very personality that made some productions wary of Griffin's involvement continued to deliver record ratings for Bravo, where she hosted the 2008 and 2009 A-List Awards. She was selected to serve as the roast master of Comedy Central's "Roast of Joan Rivers" (2009), and her first comedy album For Your Consideration, which she claimed was made only as an attempt to win a Grammy, was indeed nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album in 2009. Following the airing of her latest Bravo offering, "Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch" (2009), the 49-year-old made the highly suspect announcement that her new boyfriend was Levi Johnston, the 19-year-old who spent a brief moment in the spotlight as the onetime fiancée of presidential nominee Sara Palin's teen daughter. The gossip-column announcement was conveniently timed to coincide with the release of her first book, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin - a tome she shamelessly named in the hopes that readers would believe it was Oprah Winfrey-approved.

Credits

Women Behind Bars

Actor
Show
2022

HystericalStream

Self
Docuseries
2021

Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story

Producer
Movie
2019

Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story

Self
Movie
2019

Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story

Writer
Movie
2019

Access

Guest
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2017

The President ShowStream

Guest Star
Kellyanne Conway
Series
2017
67%

The History of ComedyStream

Self
Docuseries
2017

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2016

Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party

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Reality
2016

LopezStream

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Herself
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2016

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2015

The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration

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2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

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Talk
2015

The Breakfast Club

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2015

Rupaul's Drag Race: RuVealed

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2015

Fashion Police: 2015 iHeart Radio Music Awards

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2015

The Late Late Show With James CordenStream

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Talk
2015

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2014

Undone With Amanda de Cadenet

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2014

Hollywood Today Live

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2014

Last Week Tonight With John OliverStream

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Talk
2014

Last Week Tonight With John OliverStream

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Herself
Talk
2014

The Breakfast Club Power Hour

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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

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2014

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2013

The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall

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2013

KirstieStream

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2013
35%

The Queen Latifah Show

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2013

The Arsenio Hall Show

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2013

Hello Ross

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2013

The Social

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2013

Kathy Griffin: Kennedie Center On-Hers

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2013

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper

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2012

Anderson Live

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2012

Steve Harvey

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2012

Kathy Griffin: Seaman 1st Class

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2012

Larry King NowStream

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2012

Brand XStream

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2012

KathyStream

Executive Producer
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2012

KathyStream

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2012

Inside Comedy

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Docuseries
2012

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2011

Kathy Griffin Comedy Special: Tired Hooker

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2011

Inspiration With Lance Heft

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2011

WhitneyStream

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2011
21%

Anderson

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2011

Same Name

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2011

Kathy Griffin: Gurrl Down!

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2011

Kathy Griffin Special

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2011

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2010

VH1 Divas: Salute the Troops

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2010

ConanStream

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2010

The Talk

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2010

The DefendersStream

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Sally Scott
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2010
74%

Access Hollywood Live

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2010

The Marriage Ref

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2010

Shrek Forever AfterStream

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Dancing Witch/Wagon Witch 1
Movie
2010
57%

A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures

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Vera
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2010

New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2009

Let's Dance

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2009

Lopez Tonight

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2009

The 2009 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards

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2009

The Dr. Oz Show

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2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

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2009

Drop Dead DivaStream

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Jenna Kaswell-Bailey
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2009
78%

The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien

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2009

GleeStream

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Tammy Jean Albertson
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2009
70%

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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2009

Skavlan

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2009

New Year's Eve With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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2008

Rosie Live

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2008

The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards

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2008

Privileged

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2008

The Bonnie Hunt Show

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2008

America United: In Support of Our Troops

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2008

The Wendy Williams Show

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2008

World's Funniest Commercials: Hilarious Liaisons

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2008

Free Radio

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2008

CNN Heroes

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2007

Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell

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2007

Chelsea Lately

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2007

The Better Show

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2007

Ugly BettyStream

Guest Star
Fashion TV Anchor
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2006
97%

Rachael Ray ShowStream

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2006

Kathy Griffin: Strong Black Woman

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2006

etalk

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2006

Love Wrecked

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Belinda
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2006

The Tyra Show

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2005

Entertainment Tonight Canada

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2005

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

Executive Producer
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2005

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

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2005

American DadStream

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2005

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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2005

Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone

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Rhoga
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2005

Dirty Love

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Madame Belly
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2005

Fashion Police

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2004

Fashion Police

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2004

Fashion Police

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2004

The Insider

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2004

The Insider

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2004

Iron Chef AmericaStream

Judge
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2004

The Apprentice

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2004

Tavis Smiley

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2004

Her Minor Thing

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Maggie
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2004

Average Joe

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2003

Last Comic Standing

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2003

Last Comic Standing

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2003

America's Next Top ModelStream

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2003

Real Time With Bill MaherStream

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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Celebrity Mole Hawaii

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2003

Beethoven's 5th

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Evie Kling
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2003

Half & HalfStream

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2002

Crank YankersStream

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Kathy Griffin
Series
2002

Crank YankersStream

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Maria
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2002

Last Call With Carson Daly

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2002

Curb Your EnthusiasmStream

Guest Star
Herself
Series
2000
92%

CribsStream

Self
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2000

Lion of Oz and the Badge of Courage

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Caroline
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2000

A Diva's Christmas Carol

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2000

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Cornelia Crisp
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2000

Enemies of Laughter

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Cindy
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2000

The Early Show

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1999

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

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Babs Duffy
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1999
78%

DilbertStream

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Alice
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1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Jackie's Back!

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1999

Dill Scallion

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Tina
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1999

Muppets From SpaceStream

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Armed Femaile 'Guardian of the Hollway'
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1999
63%

MauryStream

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1998

Whose Line Is It Anyway?Stream

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1998

Who's the Caboose?

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Katty
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1998

The View

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1997

Courting Courtney

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Ona Miller
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1997

HBO Comedy Half Hour: Kathy Griffin

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1996

HBO Comedy Half Hour: Kathy Griffin

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1996

Just for Laughs

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1996

Suddenly SusanStream

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Vicki Groener
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1996

Access Hollywood

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News
1996

Saturday Night Special

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1996

MADtvStream

Guest Star
Series
1995
43%

MADtvStream

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1995
43%

Dweebs

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1995

The Drew Carey ShowStream

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1995

Partners

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Michelle
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1995

Four Rooms

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1995

Extra

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1994

Extra

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1994

Comedy Half-Hour

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1994

EllenStream

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1994

It's Pat

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Kathy Griffin
Movie
1994

Late Night With Conan O'Brien

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Talk
1993

The X-FilesStream

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Betty Templeton/Lulu Pfeiffer
Series
1993
74%

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

Mad About YouStream

Guest Star
Brenda
Series
1992

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Guest
Talk
1992

Dateline NBCStream

Guest
Series
1992

The Unborn

Actor
Connie Chicago
Movie
1991

Shakes the Clown

Actor
Griffin
Movie
1991

The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirStream

Guest Star
Series
1990

The SimpsonsStream

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Francine
Series
1989
85%

SeinfeldStream

Guest Star
Sally Weaver
Series
1989
89%

Larry King Live

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Talk
1985

Nightline

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News
1980

CBS News Sunday Morning

Guest
News
1979

Good Morning America

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1975

The Price Is RightStream

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Game Show
1972

Days of our LivesStream

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Soap
1965

TodayStream

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1952

News aboutKathy Griffin