can fashion police survive without joan rivers?

Kathy Griffin has a tough gig trying to take over from the comedienne whose caustic quick wit ran the show.

by Nick Levine
13 January 2015, 4:55pm

Stepping into the shoes of the late, great Joan Rivers is an unenviable task, which is perhaps why Kathy Griffin doesn't when Fashion Police returns tonight. The episode begins with Griffin thanking her acid-tongued predecessor - "I learned from the best," she says graciously - but instead of grabbing the episode by the scruff of its neck the way Rivers used to, Griffin throws to her co-host Giuliana Rancic, who proceeds to introduce the first outfit to be scrutinised. As the episode continues, it becomes clear that Fashion Police's format has been recalibrated to make Rancic as much as a compere as Griffin, presumably to ease the new recruit in gently.

That's a shrewd call from the show's producers, because Griffin's debut performance is decent rather than dazzling. When a celebrity dresses terribly, her zingers tend to be on point - "She looks like she's about to be bullied at school," Griffin says of Tina Fey's unflattering Antonio Berardi gown. But when a star looks good, or simply unremarkable, Griffin can seem a touch flummoxed. "Yawn, perfect again," she says of one on-point outfit, without adding much else to the discussion,

Griffin is better at bantering with her co-hosts: consummate professional Rancic, the consistently perceptive Kelly Osbourne and new boy Brad Goreski. Celebrity stylist Goreski is a well-chosen replacement for George Kotsiopoulos, who had been a Fashion Police fixture since the beginning - he's obviously knowledgeable, surprisingly funny and when he plays the gay card too shamelessly, claiming Kate Hudson's Atelier Versace gown "could turn a gay man straight", Griffin swoops in to call him out. "But if you're gonna go straight for one night with her, what sexual act would you commit?" Griffin retorts. "You're all talk now, but what would you actually do?"

Griffin hits her rhythm towards the end of the episode, extracting maximum mileage out of Amal Clooney's horrible home-made white gloves, so for now, let's give her the benefit of the doubt. Fashion Police was always going to miss its foul-mouthed First Lady, at least to begin with, but on this evidence the show definitely has a future.

Fashion Police airs tonight at 10pm on E!

Kathy Griffin
Joan Rivers
Fashion Police
fashion polic