Kathy Griffin Is Ready for The Vets!

griffinOkee dokee folks … I spoke with comedian Kathy Griffin last week about her upcoming show at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Providence on Sunday, April 9. This is how it all went down.

Kathy Griffin: How are you doing?

John Fuzek: Exhausted. We had a snow storm and it froze into black ice. I’m trying to rest from that.

KG: Can I admit that I was watching The Weather Channel and every time they said “black ice” I thought that they said “black guys”? I am a giant weather junkie because I tour so much I always have to know where the weather is acting up and I was watching (storm) Stella pretty much around the clock. I have to admit that that would just crack me up every time someone said, “Black ice,” and the other person would be like, “I’m sorry?” and she would say, “Black ice,” and the other anchor would go, “Oh, right, yes, of course!” I was afraid that they had gone rogue and were saying, “Be careful of black guys!” Luckily The Weather Channel doesn’t do that! Only the current administration does that!

JF: I have a bunch of questions to ask you. Some of them came in response to a Facebook post where I asked folks what they think i should ask you. First of all, how is your mother?

KG: My mother is drunk. I think you know that whoever asked that on Facebook probably knows that. My mother is living the dream, alright. I moved her recently and she stays with me about half the time and half the time she is in her retirement village where she kind of holds court because she is kind of a celebrity. She was over here last week for three days. It was like — I am sure that you have seen that viral video of that guy doing the Skype interview and his wife comes in and is like grabbing the kids — that’s kind of what it is like when my mom is here. She’s 96 years old — she’s got her walker with the wheels and the basket and she is truly hell on wheels. She is so fast it’s insane. I don’t know how she still drinks a box of wine. Her diet is terrible. She’s 96 and she’s going to bury us all. Anyway, it was fun when she stayed for a few days. I don’t know if you know this but I moved and my neighbors are none other than Kim Kardashian West and Kanye Kardashian West. This is true; my ex lives next door now. So I set my mom’s room up so she could possibly set up her chair near the window and look into their yard and maybe see any kind of activity.

JF: So she is your Kardashian spy?

KG: Yes, she is my spy although she is a horrible spy. I’ll say, “Is there any excitement going on over there?” and she’ll say, “Oh, I got distracted and I was watching Dr. Phil instead.” So apparently Kim and Kanye don’t give as much drama as say Judge Judy. So I was like, “OK, Mom, fine. You’re the only person who doesn’t want to spy on Kim Kardashian and Kanye because you want to watch Dr. Phil, but have at it lady.”

JF: So, what are you going to do when you’re her age?

KG: Oh my gosh … well, I am nervous because apparently I have genes where … here’s the kicker: My mom has an older sister, Irene, who’s 100 … ONE HUNDRED! I am nervous because based on what is happening today I don’t know that the planet has more than two years. I actually don’t want to be around for whatever Trump and Bannon have in mind. We don’t know what that is yet, but at this point every day we wake up and go, “OK, now what did those nut jobs do and how do we unroll that spool?” I am going to spend the rest of my life like we all are — just trying to make it through one more day without being nuked by the North Koreans or finding out that Trump was secretly getting money from an Iranian lender.

JF: I haven’t seen one of your stand-up specials in a while. I pretty much only watch Netflix now and you don’t seem to be on there.

KG: I own my catalog because I have a fantasy that when I die history will reflect on me as being a lovable American figure and someone … I don’t know, like Amy Schumer, can do the ad. “Buy legend Kathy Griffin’s catalog. We didn’t appreciate her when we had her, but buy it now. The world could end at any moment. I admit it will be hard to sell the catalog when the world ends, but I am going to try to throw it up on some kind of website. So why did you give up regular TV? What kind of resistance are you in?

JF: I hate commercials…

KG: But online you have to watch those fucking commercials. At least with DVR you can go forward. Watching TV is part of my job and I take this on happily. I have to watch a minimum of 12 hours of bad television a day. It’s part of my research and development for when I hit the stage at The Vets or wherever I go.

You know, I’m calling the tour the Kathy Griffin Celebrity Run-Ins Tour to support my book, but I want your readers to know that I am not going to stand up there and read the book. It’s all new material. If you saw me five months, five years or 10 years ago, trust me, this is all new material. How could it not be? Who knows what will happen in Providence on April 9 and who knows what will happen in the world before then? And by the world I include the Kardashian world as well as the Trump administration.

JF: Have you switched your focus more to Trump now?

KG: I think that we all have. I have an abundance of material that has always been kind of my thing. I love writing new material and I have done 23 specials and I am in the Guinness Book of World Records. If nothing else I am prolific, dammit! But right now what is great is that everybody is engaged so, it’s not like you have to be a political comedian to mention politics. Now it’s so much a part of everyone’s consciousness that even if you were never engaged before you are now, everybody woke up. I got a tweet the other day that said “Kathy Griffin is woke as fuck” and I thought that was a great compliment. We’re all woke now and the good thing is that all of my audiences have this on their mind. So it doesn’t matter if I am playing Carnegie Hall or a casino in Patowatomi; everybody has all of this on their minds because it affects all of us. It’s no longer who you voted for it’s, “Oh my God look at what they’re doing.” Every night we are finding out something new on the news or every morning someone is tweeting something crazy and we’re all sort of caught up in it and watching it, but also it is affecting everybody. It is a boon time for comedy because there is so much fertile ground out there, but it’s a rough time to be an American. But I would really like to focus my act on my own personal experiences. I know Trump. I have known him off and on for like 15 or 20 years. I met him on “Suddenly Susan” when he was a guest star with Marla. So, I am going to bring to the stage my own stories of my own run-ins with The Donald. Do you know he likes to be called “The Donald”? Which is weird. So whether you voted for him or not, these are my stories and I’m proud to bring them to the stage, as well as encounters with everyone from Miley Cyrus to Ozzy Osbourne to, you know, whoever I just ran into. You know I got to go to the big Clive Davis Grammy party, (singingly) BECAUSE I HAVE A GRAMMY FOR BEST COMEDY ALBUM! I’m one of only three women in the history of the Grammys to win for Best Comedy Album, by the way. So I get to go to this Clive Davis party and rub elbows with all the music people. I don’t want to just tell a story about, say, Ozzy. I want to tell a story about the last time I saw Ozzy and what we talked about. I have been around so long that I have a coterie of things to talk about and people who I have had these run-ins with — positive and negative — and you know the negative ones are always funnier. I am going to take the temperature of the audience as the show goes along — I love doing that — so I can tell what direction that they want to go in. It’s pretty much based on what they are laughing at.

JF: Are you taking questions from the audience prior to the show?

KG: No, I think the Q&A is really cool, but I hear from people who overwhelmingly say that when they come to see me they want to blow off steam and they know that I am controversial and vulgar and they want to get away from all the heavy news or have a safe place to go and vent and rant about it. I am a believer that if you buy a ticket to my show,  you should be able to sit back, relax and get your laugh on.

JF: Someone on Facebook wanted to know if you still “vajazzle.”

KG: No, the vajazzling falls off. As I feared, the problem with vajazzling is you could get vajazzled in your va-jay-jay. I am not a spokesperson against the vajazzle movement. I just say, “Vajazzle with caution.”

JF: If Anderson Cooper wasn’t gay, would you be into him?

KG: It would be mutual. I  think he and I are just one Rohypnal away from a night in heaven, but I am going to wait until he is just so attracted to me he can’t stand it anymore. In the meantime, I’ll just keep trying to get him fired from CNN. I only have one night a year to do it, but I really try.

JF: Ok, this is a sort of second part to this question that came from a Baptist minister. Are you trying to straighten Anderson Cooper out with your flirting?

KG: (laughs) No. I do not believe in praying the gay away. Trust me, I know from years of flirting with Anderson that you cannot flirt the gay away. I just want him to enjoy his gayness. I celebrate it, of course. You know “Will & Grace” is coming back, so we are like the other Will & Grace to bridge until you get the other Will & Grace back. We have a very wonderful, classic, gay man/heterosexual woman, time-tested relationship. It has been working since the beginning of time, since the beginning of gays and straight ladies, the days of gay cavemen and straight cavewomen…

JF: Have you ever gotten slapped  by one of your A-listers over your comments?

KG: No, but Whitney Houston really scared the shit out of me. I was hosting the Billboard Music Awards one time and she came into the wings as I was just about to introduce her and she had a bodyguard with her. I just happened to be alone at that moment and she waved her sweaty finger in my face and was legitimately pissed cause she heard me making jokes about people throughout the night as I was hosting. She was really getting in my face and yelling, (mimics Houston) “DON’T YOU TALK ABOUT ME!” in a way that was really frightening. She did not strike me though.

JF: Who is the nicest celebrity you know?

KG: What’s weird is a lot of times the ones that you think will be nice aren’t and vice versa. My dear, departed friend Joan Rivers was absolutely so sweet. I love Howard Stern. I love Don Rickles. He came over to dinner about a month ago and he couldn’t be sweeter. It’s really interesting to me who has the reputation of being nice or who has the reputation of being nasty. Usually i just tell people, “Howard Stern’s really nice, I don’t know what to tell ya.” He’s a great guy he’s been really helpful to me in my career. He’s funny as hell, he’s really smart … it’s always great when you meet someone and they’re legit. It’s one of the reasons that I like Cher and my audiences like to hear about my friendship with Cher … you know, because she is very Cher-like. She is pretty much the same on camera and off. She is very candid, very bold and I love that. I think that is why Cher does well with the gay audiences and ladies of a certain age who can appreciate her and the young gays coming up. I think that sometimes when you meet a celebrity and they really love what they do they tend to be nicer. They’re actually happy.

JF: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming women comics?

KG: Yes, I do. The most important advice is just know that it is going to be about 10 times harder than for the guys. If you go into it knowing that there is still a ton of sexism and ageism in stand-up comedy, and if you really, really love it then you are going to have a great time. But if you are on the fence, then this is not the job for you. But if you have a burning desire to hit the mic, then you should do it. But just know it should force you to write more and do everything from silly things like stay in shape. Because when you’re a woman, they really do look at you still. Can you fit into the clothing nicely? Do you look the best that you can? Also, watch your money. Remember the business part of show business. When you’re a woman comic, it’s almost like being an athlete because most of us have a pretty short shelf life. When you are a woman you just have to approach it like with the understanding that it is going to be a very, very different experience than your male counterparts. And the other thing is, most importantly, really, really, truly find other women in the industry who can support you because that’s what the guys do. Women are getting a little more powerful, but if you call up your local comedy club, which I did recently, the line-up could have nine male comics and one female comic. That stuff is just still going on all over. But what has helped me tremendously is thinking outside of the box. I would put on my own shows in bookstores and coffee shops and that way I didn’t have to deal with all that patriarchy stuff that was kind of keeping a girl down. You know there is more than one way to skin a cat so you just have to keep thinking. What’s a different way, a side window that I can use to get into this house if I am not welcome in the front door?

JF: That sounds a lot like the episode that you did on “Seinfeld.”

KG: Of course, and by the way, it’s interesting because Jerry Seinfeld is someone who helps all of his friends. You remember when the Michael Richards thing happened and he went on Letterman and defended him? That has never happened to me with any of the other women. I am just giving you a straight up example of how the guys do it. By the way, I was super excited to be on “Seinfeld” twice and Larry David wrote the second episode, which was very exciting. When you’re a woman and get a break like being on two “Seinfelds” you really want to maximize that and show up on the set really knowing your stuff and being the best you can be.. It’s just like, always be on the top of your game. So when i come to The Vets, I am thrilled to do two hours of new material. That’s my idea of a good time. I don’t want to do the same monologue in every city. I love to keep changing up the material and roll with whatever is happening in the news, in my life and the people’s lives in the audience. If I hit on something and the audience just bursts into applause I am like, “OK, now i know where to go.”

For more about the April 9 Kathy Griffin show and other events at the Vets, D-list your way over to: TheVetsRI.com

That’s it. Thanks for reading! JohnFuzek.com

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