The acerbic, razor-tongued, take-no-prisoners comedian Kathy Griffin has built a career for herself -- as an actress and a standup performer -- around the schtick of being permanently under-respected by everyone (as the title of her TV series, My Life on the D List, suggests), and fighting back with her claws extended. Griffin is notorious for mercilessly skewering and taking potshots at worthy targets (particularly fellow celebrities and comedians) through her comedy, and has built a considerable career out of doing so. With an electronics store manager father and a hospital administrator mother, Griffin was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and raised in the Chicago area. She reportedly wanted to become an actress from the age of five, and frequently improvised elaborate stage and comedy acts for her family. Griffin attended Oak Park High School, and -- after graduation -- studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Southern California. In 1988, the then-28-year-old joined the now-infamous sketch comedy troupe the Groundlings, alongside such stars-to-be as Lisa Kudrow, Will Ferrell, and Julia Sweeney, where she evinced an extraordinary gift for improvisational work.