Was Kathy Griffin's Censored SVU Scene Payback from an Injured Mariska Hargitay?
Law and Order: SVU's failure to broadcast the leaked kiss between star Mariska Hargitay and guest actress Kathy Griffin is shameful enough, but Griffin may have harbored her own share of regrets the day she filmed the kiss, considering that her first run-in with Hargitay in the early '90s ended in disaster.
Back then, Griffin performed and taught improv at Los Angeles's Groundlings theater company, and one of her first students was a young Hargitay, who was almost injured thanks to Griffin's professorial error in judgment. According to her autobiography Official Book Club Selection, Griffin regrets a long-standing breach of trust that occurred during a classroom activity:
"I have deep shame, though, about one of my charges, a young Mariska Hargitay. This was before the beautiful Mariska would go on to achieve Emmy fame on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
"We started class, and in the Groundlings curriculum, one of the first exercises you do is the cliched 'trust' game. I made everyone stand in a circle, with me in the center, and I sad, "being onstage, you have to trust your fellow actors, especially when you're an improviser. You're going to be there for each other, and they're going to be there for you. For example, I'm going to fall back, knowing that you'll catch me."
Then I let myself fall backward, and sure enough, i was caught. Everyone gets out some nervous laughter, and then they all took turns doing it. By the time it got around to Mariska Hargitay, we'd already done it with ten or eleven students, and they had clearly gotten the point. Then it was Mariska's turn. "Okay, Mariska, cross your arms in front of you and gently fall back," I said.
She fell back and nobody caught her. She fell flat on her ass. I was horrified. This had never happened in one of my classes before."
"Nobody wanted to do the trust exercise after her. Nobody trusted anybody. It was a terrible way to start that class."
"To this day, whenever I see Mariska, and it's probably been ten times, I apologize. I let her down that day. Let her fall down, if we're being specific."
Hopefully the smooch helped patch any lingering resentment. At least Griffin makes Hargitay look like the good guy here -- I can't say the same for the tennis-hating Andre Agassi.