Kathy Griffin: interview outtakes
My recentends with her bon mots on Michele Bachmann, but our conversation, and my recorder, kept going. In advance of the freewheeling comedian's two stand-up shows at the Chicago Theatre this weekend, here are the interview outtakes from our phone chat:
What got you the most laughs in 2011?
It was a lotta Kardashian, a lotta Charlie Sheen, and there’s my personal run-ins. I had a run-in with Paula Abdul where I don’t think she knew where she was. A dinner with Ryan Seacrest is something I never thought I’d be sitting here saying to you, because I really thought if Ryan Seacrest ever gets me alone at a dinner table, he’s just gonna kill me. Since I stopped doing My Life on the D-List, I’m meeting everybody from my act, and they’re all pissed. As long as Oprah has a Next Chapter, I’m gonna have a fuckin’ chapter after that, that’s what I say.
I was reading some of your memoir this morning, Official Book Club Selection.
Ooohhh! Thank you.
Well, I was reading it for free on Amazon. They give a lot of it away.
That’s the whole thing about the—I know it’s a cliché term, changing media, but that’s why it’s good that the type of material that I do really does change as quickly as TMZ and Perez Hilton because I’m not someone who does this act and then they memorize it and they tour with it for a year. I’m on the breaking news. I wanna see if Lindsay Lohan is gonna do her one-nighter in Dubai or not. I wanna see if Kourtney Kardashian, if her water is breaking with her new baby, you know. I’m on top of it.
You’re there as the baby’s crowning.
Yes, I’m there as the baby’s crowning, although last time she literally just pulled the baby out, so we don’t know what kind of new birthing method they have over there at the Kardashians, but I’m watching them.
Your memoir describes your growing up in Oak Park, when you’d go to your neighbors’ house and tell them stories about your own family. You say that was your first stand-up routine in a way.
Yeah, it kind of was.
Did you ever tell them they helped start your career?
Well, when I would go and tell those tales out of school—as my mother would say, “Quit telling your goddamn tales outta school!”—I was really a little kid, even maybe under ten, and Mrs. Tyres and Mrs. Bowen were already in their seventies. What’s funny is I still—oh, here’s some bragging rights. I just got an e-mail from my friend Gloria Vanderbilt—bing bang boom! name drop!—and I don’t even know if you’re gonna get this reference ’cause it’s very old-school gay, but she then cc’ed me on an e-mail she got from Rex Reed. When I was growing up, he wasn’t out, but he was very clearly gay and very flamboyant, and he was, like, the biggest movie critic in the world.
Oh, yeah, I remember him.
Well, I’m gonna be honest. I frankly didn’t even know he was still around. And so Gloria Vanderbilt sent me this really cool e-mail from Rex Reed, and then I write back and I’m, like, that guy is so fuckin’ cool, and he wrote her this really thoughtful e-mail, and I was like, hmmm, could there be a dinner party in our future? And then Rex Reed writes back and he’s like, yes, we must have dinner. And it’s funny ’cause it reminded me of when I used to go next door to the Tyres and the Bowens’ house, and ever since then I have a joke that I’m not interested in anybody under 85. But yeah, I still very much bring that experience to the stage of going over probably where I shouldn’t go and just saying whatever the fuck I want and hoping to hold their attention to make them laugh.
It’s funny that you mention Rex Reed, ’cause your humor very much has an alliance with gay humor—all the gossip, all the celebrities.
Yeah, and that’s something that I’ve always appreciated about the gay community is there is a real sense of community. When you’re talking to somebody like Rex Reed, honey, that was not an easy time to be flamboyant, and you see pictures of the gay icons at Studio 54 or whatever, but we have to remember they still went back to their small towns for the holidays and had to deal with all that homophobia. So I have such a deep, deep, deep respect for the older gay people, and I always yell at my young gays when they don’t know what Stonewall is. I’ll slap them upside their head and be like, you fuckin’ Google it! Go read about Stonewall! And go march and be happy! That’s something that touched my life from early on, and it still continues.
Who was your first gay BFF? I mean, before Anderson.
It really was my boyfriend Tom Murphy from Oak Park River Forest High. We made out. We never did more than making out. Now I know why. And truly he is still one of my best friends. And he and his husband, David, have been living in Florida, working at Disney World as choreographers. How much gayer does it get? Dated me, came out, has been married for 20 years and a choreographer at Disney World.
Kathy Griffin plays the Chicago Theatre January 20 and 21 at 8pm.