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TV Preview: Griffin plays it straight on 'Average Joe'

Monday, November 03, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

If there has to be another reality dating show, it might as well be hosted by Kathy Griffin, the sarcastic, self-effacing comedian who hosted a series about reality shows for MTV in 2001.

"Average Joe"

WHEN:10 tonight on NBC.

Host: Kathy Griffin


At least NBC's "Average Joe" has that going for it, but inexplicably, producers hired wise-cracking Griffin and then made her tone down her act.

"It's straighter than I would like," Griffin said last week. "But it's not about me. Just know when I'm watching it, I'm saying hilarious things in my head. You know, I'm just thinking vicious one-liners constantly."

Executive producer Stuart Krasnow defended the approach.

"Nobody speaks more with facial expressions than Kathy Griffin," he said. "I think we went into it thinking it'd be funny, but it's harder to be funny when everyone was going through so much emotionally."

In "Average Joe," cute, petite, 25-year-old former NFL cheerleader Melana Scantlin signs on for a reality show not knowing that the guys she gets to choose from aren't the hunks of "The Bachelorette," but a bunch of guys who run the gamut from nerds to geeks.

Griffin described the male contestants as "cute and charming in an outside-the-box" way.

Kathy Griffin jokes about her plastic surgery.

"They actually weren't hideous enough for me," she said at a July news conference in Hollywood. "I wanted to see like, maybe a eunuch, somebody without an eye, someone with, like, uncontrollable diarrhea. That's what I wanted, but nobody listens to me. I love watching real people, and as an actress working in this industry and who looks like me, I can't get enough of it. I'm so sick of those 'Friends' I could barely watch it anymore. They're all so perfect and gorgeous and wonderful."

Griffin, who is married to a "gorgeous super nerd" computer consultant, had plastic surgery this year courtesy of "Entertainment Tonight."

"I'm an Average Joe trying to look like a slightly above-Average Joe," she quipped. "I couldn't resist. It was totally free, but I'm not going to do any more for a long time. I'm not ruling it out forever, but my husband is so sick of my plastic surgery and my Botox. Our [wedding] vows should have been to love, cherish and drain. That guy has taken care of me after so many procedures.

"Plastic surgery is disgusting, but I'm vain enough that I like these eyebrows in a new place on my head."

Griffin, who has always been upfront about her status in the Hollywood firmament, is developing a sitcom about her experiences as a "D-list celebrity."

She gave an example of a typical offer that could be the basis for an episode of her proposed comedy. She's toured for the USO in the past and this summer got another offer to visit the troops with former "Baywatch" babe Gena Lee Nolin, the first "Joe Millionaire," Evan Marriott, and "the girls from the Miller Light cat-fighting commercial."

"This is total D-list, this is my life," she said. "It doesn't mean to be a reality show, but it is. I can't be picky. I have to accept all the offers."

Except, perhaps, appearing on another reality series as she did on ABC's "Celebrity Mole." But she'll continue watching and raving about the genre.

"I do love reality television," she said, "and I'm really tired of art."

Griffin on the upcoming "Celebrity Mole 2": "That's gonna be a train wreck."

On "The Next Joe Millionaire": "Evan Marriott looked like a model, the new guy looks like Woody Harrelson's unattractive younger brother."

On the latest "Bachelor": "Bachelor Bob is not as appealing because he kind of thinks he's appealing. That's not as attractive as when he was the chubby underdog."

On "The Joe Schmo Show": "I loved it! At first I didn't like the actors, I thought they were too full of themselves talking about their characters and all that. But I really came to like it. They picked the perfect guy [in Mt. Lebanon's Matt Kennedy Gould]. He's likable and then despicable, and then he wins you back again. He's kind of smart, but he's still a slacker-loser kind of guy, but he's a good guy underneath. I've gotten some big laughs from that show."

Rob Owen can be reached at or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to under TV Forum.

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