Kathy Griffin Interview by Tim Nasson
Since our first interview with Kathy Griffin, over three years ago, the self proclaimed queen of the D-list, has fast risen to the A-list. She briefly dated Steve Wozniak, billionaire cofounder of Apple.
Summer 2009, Kathy Griffin follows the gays, her favorites, the ones who made her into an A-lister, around the country, plopping down in virtually every major city during its Gay Pride Week.
Los Angeles – Kathy Griffins self proclaimed title, “Queen of the D-list,” is in jeopardy.
And it’s not falling to the Z-list that Kathy Griffin needs to be crying about. It’s the fact that she is fast becoming a candidate, if she isn’t already there, for “Queen of the B-list.”
Kathy Griffin, whose reality show, “My Life On the D-List,” (which may need to be retitled next season, its third), is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for best (non-competition) reality show.
“My f!cking [Emmy] competition are those two gay twin married men on ‘Antiques Road Show,’ (rolling her eyes, not believing for a minute that the twins are straight), the f!cking ‘Dog Whisperer,’ the bullshit of ‘Penn And Teller,’ and, get this, the juggernaut, ‘Extreme Makeover,’ the show that gives a house to people with no limbs,” says Griffin, making me laugh.
If you’re easily offended at anything that is printed in the tabloids, or that comes out of anyone’s mouth other than George Bush, your priest or your spinster aunt Mabel, then Kathy Griffin is not for you.
But, if you’re like everyone else, like any self-respecting person, especially gay man, boy and queen, who has had it with living in a delusional world – pretending the world is a plate of pitted cherries, with whipped cream on top – then you need to run, as fast as you can, to see Kathy Griffin as she makes her way from the Pacific to the Atlantic, stopping in gay friendly cities, to entertain sold out audiences, the majority made up of people who ‘get’ her humor, namely, gay men and boys!
I had a chance to catch Griffin during her last of her three sold-out shows on the first stop of her current tour, at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.
“I can’t f!cking believe I sold out ‘The Wiltern,” she says. And three times, mind you.
The show I attended was comprised mostly of gays but there were quite a few straight people there, too. A presumably straight couple on either side of me and my gay guest.
After the show, back stage, the mix of about thirty people was comprised primarily of adoring gay fans, including one large drag queen who stood nearly twice as tall as Griffin, but also a smattering of straight girls. None seemed to be older than Griffin, who is forty-five, but has the energy of a twenty year old on-stage, where she performs, non-stop for over two hours, with just a stool, a couple of notes and a lonely bottle of water.
“I never eat or drink anything after 5 o’clock, if my show is at 8 o’clock,” reveals Griffin. “But the minute I walk off stage, having had only a sixteen ounce bottle of water during those two-plus hours, [under a glaring spotlight], I immediately drink another bottle of water and Jessica (her assistant) fixes me a drink.”
And when Griffin says drink, she doesn’t mean a mixed drink. “I don’t drink alcohol,” says Griffin. I had to ask how she keeps up the energy, on stage, non-stop, night after night, hour after hour.
“My drink, the one that Jessica or whoever is making it for me if I am not making it, consists of a glass, a straw, ice and diet Pepsi. Diet soda is my one vice. The more caffeine the better,” she laughs.
“I am not sure exactly why the gays like me, but I have my theories. First, I was that girl in high school who went to the dance with the gay boy. We started talking and I knew no one was going to ask me to the dance and he certainly wasn’t going to ask a normal girl, so we looked at each other and said, ‘f!ck it,’ let’s go with each other. I still have that gay friend from high school. We talk to this day.”
As for her second theory, as to why gay men and boys love her and can relate to her: “I grew up in drama clubs, which were filled with gay boys. And have performed in gay clubs forever. I think gay audiences not only get my humor but they cheer whenever I say something that they were probably thinking.
“Whenever there is a mixed crowd in an audience that I am performing in front of, let’s say 60/40% gay/straight, the f!cking gays will cheer, whistle and holler, stomp their feet and not stop laughing at some of the most outrageous things that I say about anything and anyone,” and she rattles of a litany of names, “Larry King, Clay Aiken, Ryan Seacrest, Star Jones.”
Think of Kathy Griffin as the heterosexual enema. “If I say something that is on the bubble of hideously offensive,” explains Griffin, “and there is a mixed crowd in the audience, the f!cking gays will let it out, which, in turn, lets the heteros, who needed that enema, feel comfortable at letting it out, instead of suppressing the laughter they have bottled up inside.”
While Griffin has been persona non grata on many television talk shows, she recently appeared for a whole hour on “The Larry King Show.”
“He didn’t have a f!cking clue as to who I was,” laughs Griffin. “During breaks or when he the camera was on me, he would be looking at his notes to try and find out who the f!ck I was and what he could talk to me about for a whole hour. It was a really slow news day, that day,” she says. “But I can’t thank him enough for having me on. I was very nervous while on the show. But he did make it easy. He was great. But, but, he wouldn’t admit to me that he had had plastic surgery. He f!cking denied it right to my face. All you have to do is look at his face to know that he has had something done to it.”
In late July of this year, Griffin was also a guest on “The View,” which she thought she had been banned from.
“I was banned,” says Griffin, when I bring up the subject. “But I am nominated for an Emmy, now, and they realize that I am not complete write off. But get this. I called ‘The Today Show,’ [which, like ‘The View,’ is taped in NYC], and told them I would be in NYC for ‘The View’ and asked them if they wanted me to come on, or stand on the sidewalk for six minutes, answering some dumb questions from Al Roker, during the three hours they have to waste. I mean NBC owns Bravo, which airs my show. First they said, ‘No thanks, Kathy,’ then they f!cking called me back and said, ‘You can come on if you paint yourself in gold, like an Emmy statue, and stand on the corner in front of the studio.’ I was like, ‘No f!cking way in hell.’ That’s where I draw the f!cking line, painting myself in gold and standing on the sidewalk naked in front of ‘The Today Show.'”
So, Kathy Griffin does have her price!
“Yes,” she says, “Even ‘The View’ had a few stipulations if I was to get back on there. I couldn’t talk about Star [Jones] and had to talk about my divorce.” Griffin’s divorce became a public spectacle recently, after she reported on Larry King, and elsewhere, that her husband of many years had been stealing money, upwards of $70,000 from her ATM card, when she wasn’t around.
“It wasn’t about the money,” says Griffin. “It was about trust. When you’re married you have to be able to trust each other implicitly and if your other half is stealing from you right from under your nose that is not what a marriage is supposed to be.”
The show I saw Griffin perform took shots at many current articles, at the time, about Griffin, including one in a NYC tabloid daily paper that printed a story that she refused to do a show at an NYC gay club because they didn’t meet her offer.
(For the record, the club, “Splash,” or whatever they call themselves today, had alleged they offered Griffin $5,000, to which she refused, going so far as to falsely say she also demanded a $10,000 rider. They then went on to say that Jennifer Lopez performed for free at Gay Pride this summer and how dare Kathy Griffin disappoint her fans.)
“I was never approached, nor was my publicist, about performing at any gay club in NYC,” explains Griffin. “Furthermore, in my entire life have never asked for a rider, anywhere I perform.”
(“A rider is what the some performers put in their contract that includes money for someone picking the green M&Ms out of the candy bowl or for the lines of coke that need to be ready for the performer and their possy before and after each show,” says Griffin, during her show.)
“I am easy. If I am invited somewhere, all I need other than the check, is a stool, to put my notes on and a bottle of water. And as for Jennifer Lopez performing for free at Gay Pride in NYC. I don’t f!cking call lip-syncing two songs, for a total of seven minutes, maybe eight, a performance.”
The point is, Griffin is worth every penny she earns. And you can quote me on that. I hardly ever endorse a movie, a performance or performer. This is one time when it would be ignorant of me to not do so.
“And when I am on the east coast,” says Griffin, (and she will be in NY, CT, Cape Cod, NH and elsewhere before the end of the summer), “my show will be a lot different than it is when I am performing on the west coast. People who pay $50 or any amount of money to be entertained for two hours should get to see new things.”
The question is, who will be Kathy’s target when you see her?
Lance Bass is out of the closet, now, so he is ripe for the picking.
While Season 3 of “My Life On The D-List” won’t be around for another year, (Season 2 just finished on Bravo last month), you can get more of Griffin on her website,
www.kathygriffin.net, a site she claims is a better pick-up site, in the chat room, than Gay.com.
While most celebrities, including celebrity talk show hosts like Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, two who have banned her from their shows, are ass kissers, not wanting to piss off publicists, and the stars who are on their shows every night, Griffin is the exact opposite. “They and everyone else can kiss MY ass.”