NBC's Golden Girl, Kathy Griffin: 'I'd Like to Push Sarah Palin Down the Stairs'

"Class act" are the last two words most people would use for comedian Kathy Griffin. Radar Online thrilled at the chance to forward the story this week of an unnamed publicist for Playgirl magazine channeling Griffin’s snarl: "Then we went to a gay bar called Mad Myrnas. I asked Kathy what star she’d like to see take a ‘celebrity spill’ and she said ‘I’d like to push Sarah Palin down the stairs.’"

Griffin appeared recently for a comedy stop in Anchorage, Alaska, where she filled her usual role by suggesting Palin gained her vice-presidential nod by performing a sex act on John McCain. It’s hard to forget her "Suck it, Jesus!" victory speech when she won an Emmy.

But for NBC, this makes her a precious commodity.

NBC "Law & Order" executive producer Neal Baer watched Griffin host the Creative Arts Emmys last fall and without meeting her, he vowed to one of her friends that he would write her a part that would get her another Emmy nomination. She may joke she’s on the D-list, but not at NBC Universal (which also runs her reality show My Life on the D-List on Bravo).

"I do think it's a little bit A-list that I'm in this category where people just write parts for me and I don't even have to audition," Griffin told the New York Daily News.When Griffin received Baer's script, she was happy that she wouldn’t be playing herself, but somebody who’s obnoxious – a harsh activist named Babs Duffy, a "white, lesbian Al Sharpton."

That episode of Law & Order: SVU aired on March 3 and was titled "PC," and there was a lot of bowing to the forces of political correctness. Griffin’s "Babs" character led a group called LesBeStrong, and her activist motto was "We're dykes, we're pissed, and we're not leaving till we get results." She dismissed the police for having a "piss-poor patriarchal attitude" and being "co-opted by the dominant heteronormative paradigm."

"SVU" had taped a lesbian kiss between Griffin and the female detective played by Mariska Hargitay, but NBC decided to edit it out, which did upset the PC crowd. Hargitay’s cop pulled away and said "that’s not on the menu." This led to Griffin’s lesbian character to talk suggestively that this police woman with a gun really has all the qualities of a gay person: "Come on, you're like a combo of Ellen, Calamity Jane, and Joan Crawford. If you can balance a checkbook I'll throw in Suze Orman." The cop declined: "I’m flattered, but I’m straight."

Overall, the lesbians were delighted with this storyline, since they’ve also decided this attractive female cop has a "gay vibe." By episode’s end, this straight cop catches the anti-lesbian rapist by pretending to be a lesbian herself. As usual on today’s TV, the world seems broken down into homosexuals, tolerant straight people, and to represent the conservative viewpoint, psychopathic rapists.

But some didn't like the late plot twist: Griffin's "Babs Duffy" was secretly seeing a man, which was apparently a no-no in "LesBeStrong" circles. In the real world, the GLBT organizers thought that was lame.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis