Kathy Griffin

On this date in 1960, comedian Kathleen Mary Griffin was born in Oak Park, Ill. When Griffin was 18, she chose not to attend college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business, where she launched her career in stand-up and improv comedy. She gained celebrity with her television show “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” a raunchy reality show that earned two Emmy Awards. Her autobiography, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin (2010), was a New York Times best-seller and several of her comedy albums have received Grammy nominations. She has also had roles in many movies and television shows.

Griffin is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, AIDS awareness and various other social and political causes. She frequently criticizes organized religion, and although she grew up Catholic to Irish immigrant parents, she has broken away from the church. In a June 2007 interview with OutSmart magazine, she described herself as a “militant atheist.”

Christian groups and others heavily criticized her for her Emmy acceptance speech in 2007, where she said, “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. He didn’t help me a bit. If it was up to him, Cesar Millan would be up here with that damn dog. So all I can say is suck it, Jesus, this award is my God now.” She tried to explain it away by saying she was only criticizing award winners for giving credit to a higher power for their own achievements. She has had several other incidents since in which she has been criticized for statements that many people saw as offensive.

Griffin’s “Laugh Your Head Off” worldwide comedy tour drew crowds in 2017-18. She was the first female comedian to have a comedy album debut at number one on the Billboard Top Comedy Album chart. She was married to Matt Moline from 2001-06.

Freedom From Religion Foundation