Catching up with Kathy Griffin

by | Apr 2, 2024 | 0 comments

Do you prefer performing in big places like Overture or more like a club setting?

I like a big theater. And in fact, not to be an asshole, but I actually won’t play clubs anymore. This is a snobby thing to say, but I would sooner retire than play clubs again, because theatrical audiences show up in a different way. When you’re playing a club, you’re part of a lineup. I’m always in between two straight guys complaining about their wives, and they do shit like, “So the wife, the old ball and chain,” You know what I mean? That old-fashioned style. And then they go, “And now Kathy Griffin.” And then I come out here and I tell my stories about going to Paris Hilton’s Christmas party or something. So when it’s a show that’s just An Evening with Kathy Griffin, and yes, I just spoke about myself in the third person, it was like a date night for a lot of people. And people came up, they were dressed nice, they’re all facing the stage, so it’s not like a club, where it’s round tables and some of them have their backs to you, and they’re ordering drinks. So man, I have come to just absolutely love theaters. I’m extremely grateful after being canceled in a rather glorious fashion, I’m so grateful I can play theaters again like the Capitol Theater.

Oh, cool. Well, you were never canceled with us.

No, thank you. No shit. Thank God for the gays, honey. Thank God.

So why do the gays love you so much?

I think it’s truly an organic relationship. I was that kid in first grade that somehow found the gay kid in class that was shy, maybe getting picked on, and I would befriend him, because I was always a big mouth. “Hey, Brian, what’s your name? Hey, Brian, come sit with me. Hey, Brian, did you see this on the Johnny Carson show last night? Did you see Liza Minnelli?” And in high school, once you’re in the drama department, it’s the gays and the hags. I was a young, budding hag at that time, and now I’m a seasoned, professional hag and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s nothing I can say to a gay, LGBTQ person that they haven’t heard. The great John Rivers said “You can’t shock a gay person. They’ve seen everything, they’ve been called every name, they’ve heard every word you can think of.” And so as a comic, it’s a freedom to be able to say anything. And if it’s funny, they’re going to go with it.

Yeah, very true, very insightful. Okay, so keeping on that subject, you are very much a survivor with everything from cancer, and addiction, and obviously cancel culture, which we’ll come back to in a second.

And now we’re getting divorced on top of it. Can you believe that shit? I want to be the Golden Bachelorette. Call ABC.

So you can relate to being a drag queen?

Are you kidding? I know at least two drag queens that do me, and it’s the highest compliment in the world. And I’m a bit of a drag queen myself. Honey, I’ll put on 10, 15 pounds of makeup without batting an eyelash, and then I’ll add fake eyelashes, and then I’ll add another layer. And I’ve been known to wear some, as I call it, magic hair on stage. Some of the hair grows out of my head. Some of it comes from a gay salon somewhere.

So how would you define the term cancel culture?

Well, it’s interesting because I get a little snobby about that term, and I’ll tell you why. Because a lot of us have been canceled. And when it comes to the male celebrities who have been canceled, and of course I’m talking about Dave Chappelle, they’re not canceled. They’re selling more tickets than ever. And look, I love Dave, because I think he’s a genius. I’ve known him since he was 18 years old. But I got to tell you, I wish he’d stop with the Trans community, only because when you’re a comic, there’s really an unwritten rule called punching up. You only punch up. I got “canceled” for making fun of the fucking president. If that isn’t punching up, I don’t know what is. I’ve been doing stand-up for decades. I’ve made fun of every president, Democrat or Republican. Every president is on the table. That’s punching up. When Dave talks about the Trans community, and look, he’s done it in three specials now, and he is such a genius. There’s so many other topics that I want to hear Dave Chappelle talk about. And I don’t know that Dave understands, the Trans community is the number one community in the world that’s at risk of being murdered, murdered! And I’m sorry to get real heavy on you, but that’s where I try to differentiate. And I wasn’t just canceled, honey. I had the Department of Justice put me on the fucking no-fly list. I couldn’t tour if I wanted to. My tour was canceled halfway through because the death threats to the theater, and bomb threats, and threats to me and all this other stuff. I had to be interrogated under oath by two agencies within the Department of Justice, the US Attorney’s Office, and the Secret Service. And that’s a way of not just canceling somebody but prohibiting them from doing their job and making a living. And I still don’t have a special because I’m still considered scary to all the networks and the streamers, because they’re worried about Trump voters. Jesus, I took a picture of Donald Trump, because let’s face it, he deserved it. I didn’t try to actually kill the guy. That was an overreaction, if you don’t mind. But it was a protest photo. Some people thought it was laugh out loud funny, some people thought it was shocking. I didn’t really care. It’s up to interpretation. But I just think there’s a difference between cancel culture and what happened to me. And I don’t mean to be bitching because I’m so grateful to be back on tour. I’m so lucky that people are buying tickets to come see me in Madison. Trust me, there’s not a minute that goes by that I’m not kissing the ground I walk on because I’m so happy and lucky to be back at work.

A little lighter question now. What’s your favorite kind of joke to tell?

Man, I like a joke that’s personal because if I go see a comic, I don’t know why, this is just my taste, I want to feel like I’ve gotten to know that person a little bit. When I go to the stage, it’s real personal stories. I went to the party and Gigi Gorgeous had a couple of cocktails, and she goes, ‘Jump on my back.’ I said, ‘Sure, honey.’ So I jump on her back, I pull her back by mistake, she drops me on my fucking tailbone. I’m 63 years old, we’re both laughing our asses off and I’m sitting there on the floor. And then next thing you know, I remember I don’t have underpants on. I don’t have fucking underpants on at my age. So it hasn’t come out yet, but it was at Paris Hilton’s house. And you know the young kids with the freaking cell phones. So I’m just sitting here on pins and needles, waiting to see when the Kathy Griffin beaver shot is coming out. And let me tell you, if it comes out, I’ll post it on my own fucking social media. I don’t give a shit anymore. Look, everything I’ve been through, you think I give a shit about a beaver shot? I don’t care.

Okay, I got one last question for you. Do you regret the photo?

No, I don’t regret it. And if he gets reelected, I’m fucking doing a new one. Look, we have something called the First Amendment in this country, although if he gets reelected, let me tell you something, and I’m real serious about this part, because I’m talking to you and I’m talking to your community. I get scared. I get scared that my gays …

And I say that as a loving expression, I know it’s a possessive, and I shouldn’t say that, but I still say, “My gays,” because I’ve been doing stand-up so long, that when I started, the word wasn’t gay, honey, the word was F— And I’m not going to say it, but that’s why I say, “My gays,” because that was a freaking step forward, to get people to use the word gay. So now we say queer or LGBTQ, I don’t care, as long as I know I’m trying to be loving. But I’m telling you, I really hope the community understands what Trump is going to do. And I’m not kidding. You say goodbye to gay marriage on day one, day one of that administration. You say goodbye to your rights. He’s going to hunt you guys down like animals. And I am not kidding. So I know those are strong words and I’m sorry to get so heavy, but please get the young gays to understand and care. And by the way, it’s not just the presidential, it’s the down ballot. And I know it’s a pain in the ass, but just take an hour one time, and remember, elections aren’t every four years or every two years. They’re every year. And the judges matter and the local representatives matter. And in fact, they might affect your life more than even the presidential. So just take a minute, go to one of the LGBTQ organizations that you trust, that’s forward-thinking and a lot of them do the research for you. But really all we have is our vote. But for God’s sake, vote, vote, vote, and drive those twinks to the polls if you have to. Do what you have to, give ’em a blowjob. I don’t care. The institutions aren’t going to protect you. Vote, vote, vote. And Joe Biden is our guy. And I don’t want to hear that he’s old. I don’t give a shit. I don’t care if it’s his dead body. You got to vote for Biden over Trump. It’s important. Your rights depend on it. I really mean that.

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