As she tours the country on her ever-growing eighty stop comedy tour, Kathy Griffin is eviscerating Kardashians, Donald Trump, and everyone in between. With razor sharp wit and masterful timing, Griffin is the go-to performer to get the real deal on current events and pop culture, mostly because she knows them personally! We sat down with her as she prepared for the Wild West Comedy Festival to chat about Blac Chyna, her darling and wine swilling mother Maggie, and Mr. Trump himself.
So I have managed to get some free time with you on your insane eighty stop tour! Next up; Nashville for the Wild West Comedy Festival on May 21st! How is it going to be doing Kathy Griffin in the red state of Tennessee?
My show in Nashville is going to be all new material! Here's the thing; Tennessee is a red state but Nashville is a blue city. I'm gonna give em' a beat down about this "HB1840" law thing, I'm gonna hassle em! You know, it's getting crazier, and that's where I come in.
One of the best things about doing this tour is this; Fox News has absolutely nothing on me with their "Real America" bullshit because I let me tell you something, I am truly going to the real America! I mean, I went to Carnegie Hall in New York City in November, which was wonderful of course. I'm also going to Thousand Oaks, California, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Lincoln, Kansas, where you know those Fred Phelps/"God Hates Fags" people will be there because, what else do they have to do?! I'l be in Minneapolis, Indiana, Vegas, Lancaster, CA, Bethlehem, PA, I mean I am everywhere! I'm not gonna hold back because this election is so insane!
This has to be the most feverish election cycle we have ever seen.
Everyone is talking about! The added bonus is that I have known that fool Donald Trump for decades. I have personal stories with him.
Did you ever think he would ever get this far in the process? I mean, he is actually going to be the Republican nominee!
Honey, I didn't even put it in my act because he was irrelevant! My audience wants to hear about Cher, Anderson Cooper, that stuff. In Nashville, I can tell about this amazing run in I just had with Sean Penn. I also just saw Barbra Streisand recently, that's always incredible. I can talk about an amazing run-in with Leonardo DiCaprio. But you know, I have to tell these Trump stories because they are fucking jaw-droppers! When you're a fifty-five year old female stand up comic with no network support, no studio support, let me tell you, the cheese stands alone. I have been fighting sexism and ageism in particular, in stand up, that I just don't give a fuck. Even though he's the Republican front runner, I will be telling these Donald Trump stories that I've been keeping in the coffer because nobody really cared. So no, never in my wildest dreams did I think that the guy I run into on this red carpet or this party, or the guy I sat next two at the fucking Larry King Birthday Celebration is someone I would ever put in my act. Everyone knows he's fucking nuts and that was that.
Since there is so much in the world to talk about now, how do you decide what to deliver to the audience?
Believe it or now, I'm actually thoughtful about what I choose to put into the act and what I don't. I change it every night and I change it every city. We always start with local material, that's what makes it fun. But this Donald Trump material, nobody's got anything on me. No one has these Donald Trump stories; maybe Melania, God knows how else she gets through the night, if you know what I'm saying. I have a story about spending a day with the Donald and Liza Minnelli at his golf course in Connecticut. It's unreal; you should buy a ticket for that story alone! In addition to that, we will be discussing the news of the day, the stories of the day, the political landscape, the pop culture landscape, it's all changing so fast! I think I started the tour with forty cities and now it's eighty!
You're absolutely right. No one knew that the MIchael Strahan/Kely Ripa morning show war would break out, and no one expected Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne's marriage to implode and for her to speak about it openly on "The Talk". Everything changes so quickly in today's pop culture world.
Yup; and I know them all. I know them ALL! When I talk about these things, I don't say, "hey this random person is going through this". I'm saying, "well, the last time I saw them, this happened". It's changing every minute. Someone just sent me an article that I am in Variety magazine today. There's an article in "Variety Dirt" which is like, their real estate section that I am house hunting. They actually show a photo of a house that I actually was in escrow on and that I dropped out of because it didn't pass inspection. I had an all cash offer, two week escrow, and now I'm not even going to live there. Someone leaked it to fucking Variety! My agents and stuff are going to be like "can we come to your new house"? It's all so tied in now and it's all happening so fast. I mean, I don't know if I should be reading Donald Trump's tweets next to Kanye West's tweets, or what, they're just so similar.
Everything is really so cyclical in this world now, because Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was part of the political landscape as the Governor of California, is now the host of the new "Celebrity Apprentice".
Ok, let me tell you something don't even start me on that my friend. People are cavalier about recalls, but I lived through that. I saw my poor Gray Davis, who was railroaded. If you ever see the Enron documentary "The Smartest Guy In The Room", they really lay out how Ken Lay and all those crooks really helped unseat Gray Davis and had a recall. Now being a California resident, even though I am a Chicago girl, hearing people say "you know what would be cool, if we had the Governator man"! Then we were stuck with that moron for eight years. Now we have a drought that was never addressed, and we were in debt. It's not so cool to have a celebrity act like they know how to run anything. I think that Schwarzenegger should just go away, he should go away from television.
And in terms of sexism, I am a fifty-five year old female. I've had four television shows, I have two Emmy's and a Grammy, and that fool, who has been immersed in nothing but scandal and being a horrible politician, he has a show on the air now and I don't? Fuck that shit! I love to openly call out sexism and ageism, and dammit, i do it with my little bucket of dick jokes, town by town.
Your fans are anxiously awaiting another book from you also!
I'm writing a book right now that comes out December 27th. I just came up with the idea one night. My last book was in 2007, and granted, it went to Number One on the New York Times Best Seller List, but I wasn't going to write another book until I thought I really have a fun reason to write one. The new book is called "Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-In's; An Index From A-Z". It comes out on Macmillan Books on December 27th, and I'll have a signing at Barnes & Noble on the actual release date. And of course, I'll be holding it up on New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper. It's so much fun to write because over the years, I really have run into everyone. This book isn't stuff from my act, it's these little snippets, 500-750 words. It's everyone from Meghan Trainor to Cher. Everyone from Suge Knight to Salman Rushdie. I mean, I met Gerald Ford. I have a story about Kendall Jenner. I really have ended up rubbing elbows with everyone, be it from the charity circuit, awards shows, hosting events, everything. I mean, last night I hosted an event for Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America. I love to be a host and I attend everything. When you're doing eighty cities, you're not really a recluse. I'm all over the place. Everywhere I go, I know it sounds cliche, but I really do have friends all over. I write about these experiences and how I run into eveybody I reach out to people all the time and I love courting these interesting people. Like last Friday night after my show, I had dinner with Wayne Gretzky, the hockey player. He came to my show, bought a t-shirt, and we had dinner. It was like "ok check that off the bucket list", My normal audience fans would never think that I would want to meet Wayne Gretky. Met him, had dinner, and twatted the picture. Check and check!
Seeing you is always an experience and I've gotten to seen you four times! Most recently, at the Borgata in Atlantic City.
Oh god I love ya Cookie! I've done specials at the Borgata, it's really great. It can be tough though, because it's risers, it's not a typical theater. So some of the people may be rolling in from the casino. I'm always mindful of the venue too. For example, when I'm at the James Polk in Nashville, it will be a regular theatre, it's part of a comedy fest, I know my good friend Vinnie Vaughn who is running it is a Republican, so I'll try to walk the line. I've played the South before but honey, I've played the "Dirty South"! Nashville is nothing! I've played Parkersburg, West Virginia! Ive done shows where someone is literally yelling from the balcony "Make America Great Again" and I'm like "calm down; it's not a rally, it's a comedy show, everyone relax"!
I think the best thing about you is that you literally never will have anything to talk about. I mean, the Kardashians alone are literally a faucet of material that never really will be shut off.
Yes! And also they're multiplying. I mean, the idea that Blac Chyna is an honorary Kardashian and that Kris Jenner may or may not be upset about it is also a bonanza because I now know Kris Jenner. So you now know that the next time I see Kris Jenner she'll be running from me in a dress and heels while I'm going "Kris Kris!" like I'm a reporter. It's like "Boston Globe here Kris, how do you really feel about Blac Chyna'? Howard Stern likes to tease me he always says "I can't believe you have the nerve to leave your house". The thing is, that's where I get my material. It's my job. This is what we do.
I want you to know, that when I met Prince fucking Charles, Joan Rivers took me to Buckingham Palace as her plus one! That one was book-worthy, I said to myself that I wasn't telling that one until a book! Joan introduced me and said "this is my friend, the outrageous comedian from America Kathy Griffin". Prince Charles pulled me in and said "if it weren't for journalists and comedians, who would keep us honest"?. Prince Charles admitted that! I don't think Donald Trump will ever admit that about comedians or journalists.
And don't you get scared when he points them out? At his rallies he points out poor little Katy Tur, but he points them out in rallies in front of of ten thousand people. I always feel, I mean, he has a security team, there should be Secret Service for the journalists. Like the poor person from NPR. I also will not be putting up with any heckling or disruptions at my show, although disruptions at my show although a disruption at my show is usually a gay guy going "talk about Cher bitch"! A disruption is a disruption. By the way, the person usually yelling that is Anderson Cooper.
In plain talk, you are a queen to the gay community. They absolutely adore you!
Well we have a lot of work to do. We have this HB1840 bill, we have the North Carolina law, I still can't believe Governor McCrory doubled down! Honey, let me tell you, you got Deutsche Bank moving, and I hate to say this, since you know I'm a gay man, but the minute the sports pull out, it's all over. I know thats not the way it should be, it should be that the LGBT organizations should be enough. The truth is you get the NBA, or the NFL or the NCAA pull out and the minute they do, you're going to see those politicians be kicked out of office in two-seconds Because money talks and bullshit walks. I have to point out though, a point i hope you enjoy; I thinks it's so funny, I love Rachel Maddow. Everyone should know, I'm a big fat lefty, everyone should know before they come to Nashville and come and heckle me. I love that Rachel Maddow says that of the businesses pulling out of North Carolina, not only does she talk about the businesses we're talking about, but she also throws in the porn site Xhamster. My boyfriend is always like "YES"! He's like "porn serves the community". You know the straights, you can't trust the straights as far as you can throw em. You have to put up with them, but eventually we'll take over.
How was Mother's Day with Maggie?
(Heavy Sigh). Because you've come to see me four times, II'm gonna be honest. 'm going to tell you something because I hope that your love for her is unconditional. When Maggie mixes boxed wine and champagne...Cookie, I can't control her. She's ninety-five She said to me, and I quote "you know what I miss Kathleen? I miss the Nixon years". I mean, people always like to say that they miss the Regan years since they like to rewrite history ,but the Nixon years? Nixon who resigned in shame? She goes "See Kathleen, you're being dramatic". I had to take it further because I knew I could put it into the act and I asked her why she missed the NIxon years. She was like "because there's too much god damn unrest in this country and I remember when Tricia Nixon got married and that was lovely and the whole country united". Sorry, I'm actually speechless. You may write a hate piece about my mother but I don't blame you. Ive never heard someone that said they missed the Nixon years, but she was drunk, so I'm going to give her the Liza pass, she was drunk. I do take responsibility for her as she is my responsibity so I apologize on her behalf.
I was the last LGBT journalist to interview Joan Rivers and she mentioned you several times during our chat. Its like with the pop culture and political landscape as it is now, you have definitely taken up that mantle.
Aww. you know, there are some Joan Rivers stories in my act, and I always tell people it's not sad its gonna be funny She was the shit. I miss her every day.
Wild West Comedy Festival
TPAC Polk Theatre