Kathy Griffin on Zendaya debacle: 'I wouldn't have said the joke in the first place'

Kathy Griffin on Zendaya debacle: 'I wouldn't have said the joke in the first place'
"Fashion Police" host Kathy Griffin addresses Zendaya-Giuliana debacle. (Theo Wargo / Getty Images for NYLON)

Kathy Griffin, newly crowned host of E!'s snarky roundtable "Fashion Police," is finally speaking out about the Zendaya controversy that ultimately resulted in co-host Kelly Osbourne's exit.

The red-headed comedian had remained uncharacteristically tight-lipped since the controversy hit the network last month but spoke out about to the Chicago Sun-Times magazine.


That kerfuffle, of course, came about when perennial red carpet host and "FP" co-host Giuliana Rancic made an off-color joke about Zendaya Coleman's dreadlocks at the Academy Awards, saying they probably smelled like "patchouli oil or weed."

Coleman and her legion of fans took offense and called out Rancic on the racist remark, and the E! personality apologized.

Griffin, the Emmy-winning comic who replaced late comedian Joan Rivers on "FP," said that it wouldn't have mattered if she was the one who took the swipe at Coleman instead of Rancic. (Griffin actually took a different approach that questioned why the 18-year-old actress was even at the Oscars at all.)

"I wouldn't have said the joke in the first place. Some dude wrote it for her," she told the mag of the weed snipe.

She also offered this advice to her co-host:

"Don't have anyone write you jokes or even suggest jokes for you on 'Fashion Police.' You have enough great insider gossip from actually being ON the red carpet. That's what fans want to hear the next day. Just talk and be yourself," she said.

Griffin couldn't speak much to Osbourne's departure but added that the lavender-haired daughter of rocker Ozzy Osbourne "seemed very upset at the merely seven tapings of 'Fashion Police' we did together."

The 30-year-old Osbourne, who is pals with Coleman, stepped down "to pursue other opportunities" and discussed her exit on Tuesday's "The Talk," though she didn't provide a specific reason for her departure.

"It was the five best working years of my life," Osbourne said. "I am so grateful for the experience — I can't even — working with Joan Rivers for five years was incredible. I learned so much, and I'm excited for my future now. I want to try new things."

Meanwhile, E! reality star Khloe Kardashian, Bravo's Nene Leakes and models Chrissy Teigen and Amber Rose have been eyed to replace Osbourne.

As for whether the whole controversy was blown out of proportion, Griffin said "yes and no."

"I think it's emblematic of several new developments. And I say that as one of the actual 'new developments," she added.

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.