Hugh Hart interview with Kathy Griffin.
The following interview, conducted and transcribed by Hugh Hart, took place at Kathy Griffin's house in Los Angeles on May 19 2008 for a New York Times profile.
In living room overlooking the Hollywood Hills:
Hugh Hart: You're on top of the hill.
Kathy Griffin: I watch them all and judge them all.
Hugh: You've got a fourth season for D-List, you've got bragging rights for winning the Emmy!
Kathy: Oh shit, where's the Emmy?
Hugh: It's right downstairs in the foyer, I saw it when I walked in.
Kathy: Are you sure? I'm so nervous. I'm nervous Forest Whittaker's gonna steal it, he lives around the corner. He's got his Oscar, probably wants to build some kind of trifecta. . . . So, what famous people have you interviewed? (Hugh names a few. Then:
Hugh: Renee Zelwegger. She's one of my favorites
Kathy: Do you know my story about her? Get this. I am a fan of Renee Zelwegger because everybody is because I'm human, everyone is. I loved her in Jerry Maguire, then I seemed to notice something happened to her face where it seem to swell up to a point where she could barely verbalize, and I made a very ill timed joke in people magazine that she looked like a sweaty puppy coke whore.
Now that's obviously an exaggeration.
However it does seem to be a fact that her face looks remarkably different than it did in Jerry Maguire and yet she's very thin with a rather full face and her eyes are getting , sort of, smaller? I'm not sure, but obviously she's in some sort of a work out regimen - some may call it bulimia - I would. My mouth to god's ears, could I just get that bulimia at least for two weeks? But, anyway, I made that horrible joke about her and two weeks later, she sent me those flowers - - If you turn and see those roses? - - with a note that seriously said, warmest wishes, Rene Zellwegger, isn't that chilling? So to this day, I don't know which way that could have gone.
(Kathy's assistant Jessica walks up and asks her to sign a check)
Kathy: Shit, I bought $249 worth of bras today?! (pointing at the jumpsuit she's wearing, to Jessica) You don't think itÕs a weird color? I look like a big salmon swimming up stream.
Jessica: You look very heavenly.
Kathy: It's my new image. That's right, I'm a living, talking rodent, slightly salted. . . So: Renee sent me flowers. That sort of thing makes me feel very A List, and yet, you know, if she were sending it to another A lister - it wouldn't be 'Warmest wishes . .' it would be, can't wait to see you again, or happy birthday
Hugh: She's sending you a message?
Kathy: Well, yeah, the message is 'Fuck you.'
But what's great is, I had my interior designer Mike, literally re-create them in silk, I'm not kidding, because never in my life have I gotten flowers from a famous person, and they were so extravagant that I called the florist and lied, like a rug, and said, 'Miss Zelwegger just sent me the most beautiful roses, I would like to send some to my mother, how much were they?' And they were $530 dollars. That's a big fuck you. 530 bucks. But, as you can see, it's a great conversation piece, it's silk, so the story lives on.
Hugh: And Rene Zelweger sending you flowers, you see that as something sinister?
Kathy: If I turn up mysteriously missing, I think you should call Renee Zellweger. I think she should be, like, in the top 30 but you know that list is, it's getting long. It's Jeff Zucker, it's Kathy Lee Gifford, it's Gellman, it's uh, Leno and Letterman and Conan -
Hugh: Nicole Kidman?
Kathy: Kidman - I think it should be like a sympathy welcome basket. bBecause my jokes about Nicole Kidman are more about how I wish I were her and she's so beautiful.
Although lately - - and you know, I'm not afraid of the face work - - I never lied about it - - but I think she needs to lay off the junk.
I myself am five years off the junk. And I think it's interesting that a woman like Nicole Kidman who's so gorgeous and beautiful, has that puffy face where she doesn't look like herself, yet she's a natural beauty that we all want to emulate. So, I don't know if that crazy husband is beating the crap out of her, and she's just using a lot of concealed creams and fillers, but it is ridiculous.
Hugh: The junk?
Kathy: The junk being plastic surgery. I'm off the junk for five years. So even to this day when I call the Morning Zoo [radio show] that's all they want to talk about. I just want you to know, for what its worth, five years off the junk. I found that the junk really did not didn't really serve a purpose for me. It did not get me the modeling jobs that I'd hoped for.
Hugh: Five years junk-free. Congratulations.
Kathy: These are my eyes and my face and everything! I decided to go back to my old face.
Hugh: Did you ever see Dead Calm. She was gorgeous and she used to have freckles. What happened to the freckles?
Kathy: Freckles? I don't either, when you have that hair and that face and those freckles - - leave it alone! . . . I had the world telling me to get a nose job. Nicole Kidman was telling her, don't do anything. except those crazy scientologists: 'On Mars, there's no freckles.' They have meetings about it.
Hugh: You've timing to carve out his niche couldn't have better since this tabloid celebrity madness kind of took over around the same time your career took off, right?
Kathy: It kind of coincided with the demise of the standard five-camera sit com.
What happened for me was, when suddenly Susan ended, thought I'd be able to write my own ticket. my agent said, you're going to have your own show tomorrow. but nobody wanted me, I couldn't get arrested. So I started looking around. I had award-winning show runners that were put together with me. I had meetings, I had studio heads saying, you're going to be the next female-driven sitcom, none of it ever happened.
I looked around, and I was watching the first season of Survivor, and I thought, boy this is some of the best television I've ever seen. I'm not a reality snob. I know there's crappy reality, obviously, but I still say season one of Survivor is one of the best things I've ever seen on TV. Real people, real characters, talk about a gay guy you've never seen on network television - - you know - Richard! you couldn't write the guy that way! And I thought, wow, these women have real bodies, and they're my age, some of them, so while all my comedy writer friends were turning against reality, I said, well I'm going to see if I can make this reality thing work for me. so I had a series on MTV which only ran for six episodes, where I would do a re-cap of reality shows, and interview the reality people.
Then Jeff Zucker came to see me at the Laugh Factory one night and he said, 'You should have a show where you're just yourself. I don't want you to be a mom. I don't want you to have to be an astronaut. just be yourself.' I said, 'Oh that'll be great, Jeff, four cameras and a million dollar a year salary. And then he said, 'Call Jeff [Gaspin].' 'Who's he?
Hugh: Head of Bravo at the time, right?
Kathy. Yean. And they realized a way to do it is to just have basically a camcorder follow me around and have no writers. So I was hoping to have my Seinfeld / Rosanne expensive, normal, nine to five days a week job, and instead, this happened, so here we are.
Hugh: Here in this industry town that's basically driven by celebrity. Being in the thick of it, do you run into the people that you make fun of?
Kathy: I run into them at the Grove.
Hugh: It's kind of a fearless thing that you do, and a stroke of marketing genius.
Kathy: It is a stroke of marketing genius, and it is fearless. Why don't you take a look around and tell me who's the smart one here? Yeah, exactly.
No, my whole thing is, when I started doing my act, I was never capable le of doing anything other than what I thought was funny.
when I started out, everybody said, you're not a real stand up you tell these stories. to this day, I can't write a knock knock joke. And then I started renting small theaters. I was in the Groundlings at the time, they had this stupid loophole where, if you're a company member, of course, I dug and found it - you could have the groundling theater for free one Monday night a month.
I started putting these shows on at the Groundling, charging a dollar. and it was called Hot Cup of Talk. it would be myself, Janine, Margaret Cho, and maybe Dana Gould. We only charged a dollar cause we were convinced nobody would come. If we charged more than a dollar. I wanted it to be a showcase for me, the other three didn't care.
I brought an egg timer and brought it on stage and the minute the thing ran 15 minutes you were gone, so I would be able today to casting directors, we're doing I'm doing a show, but I promise its only an hour, and we even have an egg timer, so when the bell ring you gets to leave, and it's a dollar, and jinee groom the truth about cats and dogs.
So I'd tell a 15-minute story about anything that happened that week that I thought was funny. When I started doing that show and doing stand up more, I started getting little parts.
If my week was I was a guest star on, um, the X files, and I had an experience where David Duchovny one was really silly and fun, and Gillian Anderson was really cranky and not nice at all, I would tell that . I'd go, whoa uh, that David Duchovny he is really fun. Gillian Anderson, what's up her ass? she literally walked up to me looked at me in the trailer for the fiftieth time and said, 'You're still here?' 'Yes I have more lines.'
So I just started telling whatever was happening.
Not hat it didn't occur to me that I was burning bridges, but to this day I kind of have the same polity, which is, I do know I shouldn't say this stuff and I do have voices in my head, and I do have my mom, the angel on my shoulder, telling me to stop.
I just can't. . . I can't. I can't stop. And obviously I've paid the price in all the obvious ways. But more than ever, people come to see my shows now.
I sold out three shows at Madison square garden, I sold out three nights at the Kodak, and I have my Emmy award and hope people will love season four. I worked really hard on it. I hope they think its funny.
So, you know, it's walking the line. On one hand people like me because of it, on the other hand, I've got the Jesus people picketing, which . . . what's more fun than that? Lets be honest.
Hugh: Speaking of Jesus, I believe you went to Catholic school as a kid, right?
Kathy: Went to catholic school, St. Bernadine's in Oak Park until eighth grade, then I bit and scratched and cried and sobbed to go to a public high school because I wanted to be in a competitive theater department.
I didn't want to be in some little school. More than the religious thing, I wanted. . . first of all, I wanted to be near boys. I was 'Wait a minute, where are the boys?'
And secondly, my high school, Oak Park High School, had Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Danny Castellenetta from 'The Simpson's' - it's a school of 5,000 kids, so you've got a thousand kids auditioning for the play. It was great training. I am the first one in my family to be allowed to go to a public high school. and so, yeah, but you know I was never religious, but now I really have fun with them.
Hugh: Your comedic reflexes are so fast. Did that come from growing up in a large family, competing for attention over the dinner table, stuff like that? I belive Bill Murray also grew up in Chicago in a large Catholic family, so . .
Kathy: It's two things: it's my family - very bright very quick - you had to read the paper every day, you'd better know the name of your alderman, all that stuff, I'm so proud of them for that. all very quick and clever and witty, my mom still is.
That's one reason I think L.A. is so ridiculous. Coming from Chicago, you realize in other cities people know, like, who the governor is and when the primaries are and what the third amendment is. Not every city is jus full of dumb asses who work out. There's other shit going on. In fact there's other countries where people look different. So the minute I moved to L.A. . .
Hugh: Did you go to college first, or? . . .
Kathy: I went to Triton Junior college for a couple months off and on for a year. I was a straight C student. I wanted to come here and start working right away. I did my first commercial in Chicago and knew I needed to move here so when I got to L.A. I was just blown away by, how, like the conversation here - like, nobody ever read the paper, nobody cared about that stuff. Nobody watched the news every night. And then the news changed.
And the other thing I would say that helped is that I then joined the Groundlings right away and they will make you quick and sharp and that training, you just never forget. So kind of between the drunken griffin family dinners and the Groundlings, I can't shut the fuck up.
Hugh: My theory is that personalities are formed not like Freudians say, by age six or seven, but by what people go through in high school.
Kathy: You're preaching to the choir
Hugh: I see you, despite the things you say as being very sensitive inside. You have this stinging exterior, yet I wonder if you had trouble in high school with, you know, the prom queen and football captain.
Kathy: Those people tortured me. They tortured me! and now, they all want me to go to the reunion and take their picture with me. my last reunion was a photo op! VOICE RAISING. I go to my high school reunion and it's all the cheerleaders who were mean to me, saying, here's my cell phone, will you call my friend, they don't believe I know you.
I was like, uh, really? I didn't believe you knew me. because you didn't say hi to me for four years. Wo when I moved out to loss angels, the longer I lived here, at first I treated it just like a business.. I was doing commercials, doing auditions, went out on industrial films.
Then when I started to really work , I thought, wow, its just high school, its high school all over again. And I thought, okay I didn't so well in high school with those people. what saved me?
Oh! I would always make the bullies laugh, and when I was just about to get my ass kicked, I'd make them laugh. or when, the meanest girl / cheerleader was about to humiliate me in front of a bunch of people, I'd make a joke ab0ut her first, or make a joke about myself first, and it was all about distraction.,
Anybody can be mean funny - I never respected people who'd say 'Oh yeah, well you're ugly.' Anybody can do that, so me, I'd better be smart.
And also that Groundling training you have to be on top of it every second. when you're doing a show where the audience is giving you suggestions for a theme, and they say, you know, uh, barrack bema doing the difference between confession and appeasement. you'd better know what they're talking about, you can't go uh, what do you mean, what happened? much less, who's he.
I was shocked when I moved here too. so as far as the whole celebrity culture thing, that's just taken over the news. I mean the fact that fox news channel gets to have news in the middle of it , is appalling tome.
Why can't they just call it Fox Analysis Channel. because O'Reilly and all those other tools openly say, I'm a news analyst, which - - 'I'm a news analyst. I was hoping you'd be the news reporter. I can analyze it myself, bill.'
We have come so far from Edward Murrow that my 87-year old mother knows that Ashleigh Simpson is pregnant. Why? I don't know. But she knows. And she doesn't go online, but between switching around on the TV and talking to the caregiver lady who comes and tucks her in at night, and reading the US weekly I have laying around , my mother knows Ashleigh Simpson is pregnant.
Hugh: So, you've been in the thick of Celebrity Land since. . . when did you come out to L.A.
Kathy: I left Chicago when I was 18 or 19.
Hugh: So you seriously wanted to be in show business.
Kathy: But I wanted to be Rhoda, I didn't want to be a stand up comedian. I thought if I could just be Rhoda or Phyllis . . .and I did. I got to be the sidekick on suddenly Susan. I mean, not - - it wasn't the marry Tyler more show but damn it, I was the sidekick to the pretty girl, and I got the jokes and I was in absolute heaven. so , after that, I could have been a sidekick fore err. I wanted to be betty white, I wanted to be doing sidekick jokes till the day I die. I'm just saying, that would have been fine with me. Gut sitcoms dried up, and I'm thinking, what's next.
Oh, this reality thing. Hmmm? Sitcoms dried up the minute reality took off. and as far as subject matter, that is who I am. I am a real person, so I love wat6ching real people on reality shows. the last thing I want to do is watch the fucking Girls Next Door. That's not real to me. Except him.
Kathy: He's a little too real. because he's disgusting. But, to me, if I'm going to watch a reality show , its because I want to see people that maybe I can identify with. I can't identify with any old on the girls next door.
Hugh: So you go after this cavalcade of moronic celebrities like. .
Kathy: Miley Cyrus. Because how you can you relate to her? I hate to break it to you America, but you have a better chance of talking to me at parties than Miley Cyrus. I don't care how much money she has. and also, I can't act like, the Miley Cyrus thing isn't happening any more. I have to come out of denial. I have to. At first there were a couple of naughty girl on girl pictures an did thought, oh you know, we're all crazy teenagers. I still thought I would have gotten in trouble for them, but maybe I'm just being an old prude.
Then the other ones come out with her pulling the shirt down. I'm like, you got to be shitting me! She's a giant Disney brand, they've sunk billions into her, she's going to make a billion dollars, and she gets to go home and go on YouTube, I don't know if she's under the influence of something, but she appears to be, allegedly.
And then the Vanity Fair picture to me was the mildest one of the bunch, but the fact that clearly the message of that picture is: 'I might fuck you. You got a pretty good shot.' That's funny. And you know what? I can't worry any more that she's 15. I know there are people who have a problem with that: I should leave her alone because she's 15. But 15 in Oak Park, Illinois, in high school if very different from billionaire 15, being shot by Annie Liebowitz. Its very different from using phrases like 'You just can't say no to Annie.' Is that what you said when you were 15? Because I was saying things like, 'When do I menstruate?' I was not saying things like, 'You just can't say no to Annie.' I did not know who Annie Liebowitz was.
Hugh: So you're attuned to celebrity, which really seemed to explode in the tabloids, I'm not sure if it has something to do with 2001.
Kathy: I can tell you that my first article in US Weekly, it was monthly then, during Suddenly Susan. Then it ent to weekly, then the Star had been more like the Inquirer, then it became a magazine. So, like periodicals, just one after another
Okay crosses the pond, In Touch, like the cheaper version, InStyle. and they're all flying off the shelf telling the same stories.
When I started working in show business, really, especially Suddenly Susan. I had always read about these A Listers like anybody else, but when I started really see the A Listers face to face, that's when my act blew up.
I'd be a presenter at the VH 1 Music Awards, just little old me, most people didn't know who I was, just some girl on a sitcom. I'd sit there and watch rehearsal. Never did I think I'd be in the same place with Courtney Love and Maria Carey and Garth Brooks and all these big stars. I'd watch these people during rehearsals and say, 'Oh my God, did Courtney Love really just throw a chair. who wouldn't get fired for that? I'd look around, nobody's batting an eyelash.
I'd tell my friends, they'd say, What? you saw Courtney love throw a chair, I'd say, you hear those stories about her being on heroin. It really looks like she is. Everybody in the business is kind of like, 'Oh yeah, whatever.'
Then I hear Mariah Carey showed up four hours late. Do you get to keep your job if you're four hours late. No, I'd be docked.
I just kept seeing things over and over and it was right in my face, and I'd just talk about it on stage. that's really the whole concept of the D list, which is, I'm kind of on the inside, but I'm not throwing chairs. I get fired for every fucking bad thing I do. I'm a little in between places.
Hugh: ItÕs an interesting tension. You got fired from E, right?
Kathy: Dakota Fanning gate - Fanning Gate. I was doing the red carpet live, during rehearsal, they never stopped me - since then, I won't expose my jokes before a live broadcast.
I said, it'd be fun to start a rumor of very unlikely people going to rehab. and one of them was little Dakota Fanning. I'd say to celebrities, we're the first to break the story that little Dakota Fanning has been admitted to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse.
Every celebrity laughed.
After the broadcast, E claimed that they got calls from Steven Spielberg personally and whatever company put out War of the Worlds, but my favorite was Team Fanning was furious.
Now, first of all, the idea that a ten year old would have a team, and - the phrase Team Fanning, and knowing that it was probably coming out of the mouth of some rich CAA agent. I couldn't resist, I had to go on every talk show and be like I've pissed off team fanning. what's that. well, there's a little ten year old and she looks like an angle, and she has a team of pit bulls around her and they're determined to ruin me.
There's just something hilarious about a 10 year old girl having that much power. hilarious to the point where I got fired. so anyways, I got fired.
Here's how smart E is. Their A person was star Jones. I was their B person. That's really going a long way from Joan Rivers who really put that whole thing on the map, and did it specifically to be comedic and take the piss piss out of the night and now I'm bummed because nobody does that on the red carpet. Everybody says who are you wearing but nobody really does anything fun with it. ItÕs the same thing on every channel. So now you have Ryan Seacrest trying desperately not to offend anybody which is very easy for him.
But you still have people like me, and my gays, and lots of people watching at home and kind of hoping for that one person who's drunk, hoping there's going to be a girl down and somebody breaks a heel, or hoping someone's going to show up with a gay husband.
I said to Ted Harbert at E, you can have all those nice sweet people all day but I guarantee you people are at home, having a beer, and they want to see something. And you have to know what questions to ask to get that.
Hugh: Blood sport.
Kathy: It's harmless. big deal, we're all still on the worst dressed the next day, nobody dies from it. but my whole take was to ask people unique questions and I thought asking people about Dakota fanning's um, re hob at promises was funny.
Hugh: So the E gig goes away. And then the tonight Show. I haven't seen you on the Tonight Show lately.
Kathy: I'm persona non grata. And that's not the only show. Conan, Regis and Kelley - Ellen's on the bubble. I was on once, then I wasn't on again. and I'm re - banned from the view. Many times! So, what happened was during season one of the d list, I went to do the tonight show. I think jay said you can't film backstage or whatever, so we didn't.
they filmed in the limo going, I do a bit on the Tonight Show where I hold up these funny pictures , trying to be funny and self-effacing pictures of myself with famous people. I said, look here's me with this famous person, look I'm not on the d - list.
I had a picture of myself with Carmen Electra.
Well you know jay she asks me for beauty tips a lot, she feels insecure about her body. I was just born what a great body or whatever. Jay just stopped everything and says, wow, looks to me like a before and after and it fell flat.
I know it's harsh right?
I literally felt tears come to my eyes. I had this horrible weird moment where I thought oh my god, I can't sit here crying on the tonight show that's weird. So I'm sort of in shock for a second, then went to commercial and jay said that wasn't too bad was it. and I go, yeah, that was kind of a dick thing to say. like, I was joking. you just said something mean. there's a difference to me. but that's my problem. to me the lines are very clear but I know that they're blurry to other people. so I remember thinking during the commercial break honestly feeling like I might well up. my feelings were hurt.
Hugh: I keep telling you, you're sensitive.
Kathy: I'm a pussy! I'm a total pussy.
So then, at the end, he heard that I was upset. and of course because I have the worst timing, have the worst karma in the world. I just wanted to get out of there and go lick my wounds.
Because even the audience was like 'Awww' when he said that. Whatever. It's his prerogative, it's his show.
So I go out and sure enough, just as he's getting into his car, my limo is blocking it. Jay called me over. I've got my microphone on, they were in the middle of taking it off. We had this conversation that never made the d list, mover even made the rough cut where we kind of had it out.
He said, why should I treat you any differently?
I said, it' kind of a girl thing.
He says, well I'd make the same joke to Dennis miller.
And I go, well, Dennis Miller is a jerk, an asshole, so what?
I would never say 'Oh I can make this joke to letterman but you're not funny enough.' What does that mean? I said, I just think it was harsh. I go, ask your wife how she feels about the joke. I go there's jokes, and then there's just calling somebody ugly. This is like a blurry thing, and I go well don't worry about it.
Jay said, well, I feel bad I don't obviously want to make anybody cry. And I said, you know what, I'm really over reacting, so don't worry about that. so, thank you.
They cut together the D list, I had nothing to do with it. I called them, that was a very sensitive thing with Yay and if you can cut it together in a way so that I'm like banned from the show, that's all I'm asking. They cut it in a way where they really just showed him apologizing for making me cry. and then they send it to him, which we never do. we never send out advance copies. then jay is furious, he feels he's been portrayed poorly like he's mariposa, and that I can never get on the show again.
Stuff like that makes me think, you know what? I'm going to do the show better next year, I'm going to fucking win an Emmy. I'm going to make it so every show will have me. and then, maybe I won't need to be on the tonight show. that was my plan.
Hugh: And the the following year you won the Emmy. You're all piss and vinegar. .
Kathy: Always. That's always inside me. Nothing but piss and vinegar.
Kathy: No, I'm out. I went on the show one time and I swore. What I was told was that he didn't like that, he didn't know who I was to begin with and thought it was inappropriate. but, let me just cut the shit. It's all sexism. I don't care what these boys say in their fucking boys club. They're all white middle age guys, they all look alike, they all think alike, they all make the same jokes. they don't know what to make of me. I'm not a legend, I'm not a dumb bimbo, so, I just have to do my own thing.
Hugh: So even winning an Emmy, you're still trouble. It's not enough to vindicate?
Kathy: No. Here's an expression someone told me at Bravo, which I think is hysterical right up there with Team Fanning. Gellman has put a fatwa on your head.
Hugh: Who told you that?
Kathy: Somebody at Bravo. I said wait a minute. there's a TV producer - first of all that I even know his name is annoying. isn't he supposed to be busy behind the camera producing the show. why is he a character on the show. and he can put a fatwa, like salmon Rushdie on my head, and its not from Regis, who I get along great with, and I love Regis and ran into him, I only told him the story one time. why don't you just drop by the studio, come on it'll be fun, surprise. I said, because I'm not Sean young, what am I gonad do, come in a cat suit? I said no, I think that's weird, I', not going to just drop by I need to be booked , like every other guest. I'm not gonad to drop by like a lunatic and storm the Regis and keenly show. no its weird.
No, I'd rather do Jimmy Kimmel or Craig Ferguson.
I made a joke a million years ago that Gellman was Regis' bitch.
Hugh: That's it?
Kathy: And it's true and I said it on the air and it's funny but more importantly why is Gellman putting fatwa's on people?
Hugh: So, season four of 'The D-List.'
Kathy: Ten episodes, not six.
Hugh: You process a lot of personal stuff on the show.
Kathy: The divorce, and my dad died.
Hugh: And Wozniak. You guys broke up after taping?
Kathy: He sent me a two page email, so he's still a lovely friend.
Hugh: You have no problem processing this personal stuff on camera?
Kathy: Oh absolutely. The one thing I'm most proud of with the show, is 100 percent most real of the shows out there. We mess with the timeline a little bit, do something third week of January but it airs in episode of second one. But we don't script anything, we don't make anything, my relationship with Woz was real off camera, he just emailed me.
I didn't call him and say, wouldn't it be weird if you were on my show? nothing'. None of the relationships are manufactured. I certainly never thought I was going to get divorced period, much less get divorced so quickly. Obviously I didn't know my dad was going to pass away. Who was so beloved as a character, that was touching to me. And that's why I defend reality TV as a genre. Yeah, most of it's shit, but you know what? It showed the world how funny my dad is, and there's not one fake moment about him. He didn't know how to be fake. If you paid him, he wouldn't know how.
So when that stuff happens, and we've had a little practice with it now, we just kind of deal with it. Like when I found out that Woz was engaged, to somebody he'd met three weeks earlier, I was, uh, okay, here's how to deal with it, we just say it.
And that's what it is. I still adore Wozniak. He and I were never in love with each other. We dated. He's obviously an awesome guy. and, I'm not smart enough for him, lets cut the shit. I like to keep up, but no. We had many great times here, and many times with him on the road. I'm happy to say I believe he'll be a friend for life.
Hugh: Wozniak notified you by email, right? That's got to hurt.
Kathy: It did hurt. I wrote him back you have to know how this makes me feel. But he doesn't quite have those receptors. Honestly, not to build him up to much, but in many ways, he's like living on a different plane than we are. There are times when he really is the absent minded profesor.
This girl he's with is an Apple programmer instructor or something, she's much met her twice, went to basketball game, to dinner one time, much more appropriate for him.
Hugh: It all happened off camera?
Kathy: I don't edit the show, but I hope they don't cut him out of it. As far as I know it just sort of plays out on the show. Even though I love to make fun of bravo for being a fake network, but the nice thing is they never really tried to make it look like we were going to get married or it was this great love story but just showed it like it was, an unlikely friendship, a few dates.
They never came to me and said, okay, we need to have a wedding happen by the finale. never. in fact I didn't think he'd be on the show at all. I assumed he'd be my off stage boyfriend, his assistant was really into being on camera, so he coming to her with things. Don't know how many. He's in four or five.
JESSICA TIFFANY TOM.
FANNING - someone on crew Team Griffin upstairs.
Kathy: I don't mean to sound like an asshole, like "I have a team of people around me." But I have to admit, I now, without irony, use the expression Team Griffin. I know. I'm this close to talking about myself in the third person.
(Questions about a plane flight the next day)
Who's taking me tomorrow?
at the crack OF DAWN.
What time's the flight
ATM / should I just take . .
okay, you ready? There's a new Andy in town, you're going to meet him through my life on the D List. in fact, the only thing I find frustrating, the amount of stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor. he was so funny, chroming, all the things went right, all went wrong.
Those are my biggest fights with bravo, oh come on you've got to leave that scene in where he says this or that.
Episode Two: Home town dates. Like American idol where you go to their hometown. so Tiffany and Tom go to their hometowns and what we learn is that everyone's family's crazy, not just yours. We thought they'd be a little boring and stuff and it' just like, no. crazy.
Then I start my t shirt merchandise campaign. what I hate about reality shows is they're sales pitches for their shitty march. What's unique and honest about life on the d list, is, my tee shirt sales are a disaster.
I can play 4,000 people and sell seven fucking tee shirts.
so, its not like every other show where they go, I've got this great new line and I'm meeting with the head of so and so, and I'm going go on QVC. nobody wants me. QVC doesn't want me, HVC doesn't want me.
I can't sell tee shirts to upscale gay guys who come to my show. even if they paid $300 to come see me, they don't want a fucking $15 pair of boxers that say suck it.
So, it's my mom giving me advice, trying to get me back in with the Christians, so she wants me to sell rosaries - mom, that doesn't make sense
Then episode three is, also, never been done.
The Australia episode where I go to the gay made grass where I find out when I get there, I don't have a float, no joke, and it's just team griffin, the four of us walking around, yelling our names. we don't have a sign, we don't have a banner, nothing. I try to get on other peoples' floats. I get kicked off. we buy head dresses to try to look festive. .
It gets worse.
On the way over there, the way we all got to go for free is that I perform on the air new Zealand pink flight, an all gay flight between Aan Francisco and Sydney, and I'm on the intercom. 14 hour flight. I got a six hour sleep break and if you think those gays let me sleep, you got another thing coming.
Then I got there and did press and had really fun celebrity cameos, hooked up with Lance Bass went to the zoo. We went shopping for drag stuff with Margaret chow and cyndi8 lapper. then action packed.
I dragged Steve down to Mexico to open the Kathy griffin leadership academy. because opera did it. I feel that if Oprah is going to continue to campaign to ruin me - which I believe drives her - I believe Oprah is out to take me down. I believe she and Ryan Seacrest want to kill me - - than I at least should defend myself. Ao when I saw that she opened her school in South Africa with billions of dollars, I thought how hard can it be?
So we went to - I'm talking about the jungle in Mexico - we opened the Kathy Griffin Academy. We're doing the biblioteque and Steve gives them four computers and it's just a disaster. I don't know if they're stolen by now, can't even imagine. But I did the best I could, washed walls, I buy them books, I give them gift bags, because I know people like gift bags.
They didn't know what the internet is. So there's moments that kind of work out and moments that are just fucking disasters.
The episode I hope will be the best is, we do a whole episode at Walter reed army medical center.
Hugh: I've talked to Henry Rollins about Walter Reed, because he's visited there as well./ It sounds like Hell on earth. How do you find the comedy in that?
Kathy: I performed in Afghanistan off camera, then went to Iraq in life on the d list. I learned a little bit how to talk to those guys.
But I felt really strongly. I visited Walter reed off camera, that itÕs a big news story that kind of went away quickly. after going over seas and looking at their faces and realizing these are 19 year old kids from Abilene, and go, this is how we treat them, this is what we do.
I felt, I'm not going to make a difference obviously but I can at least make them laugh.
First, went no cameras.
I didn't know what it would be like. hen you have to enlist the help of the army red tape and all that stuff.
but I feel really strongly about it, and already hearing from the prod. company, say, we don't know if this is a whole episode. you've got to make it a whole episode.
the stories run the gamut, everything from something obviously shattering and heart breaking as you'd think.
But also what I learned and what I love is that those guys - like the soldiers oversees - when you've been through and lived through such an adverse situation - you laugh at the sickest shit. their thresh hold for comedy is so high, I love it. there's nothing I could say that would shock them. nothing I could say -= what are they gong to do wheel away? they'd talk to me about beating each other up with their fake legs, about how many beers can you fit into our fake legs and drink me.
One guy had a big tattoo that said, fuck me I'm Irish, didn't remember where he got it.
I'll tell you what jokes bombed. I'd tell a joke about Jamie Lynn Spears, can you imagine 15 years old and pregnant. Crickets. Looking at the room, oh that's right, your wife's 17 and your third one's on the way, okay.
So, went to re hab. I hope they edit it truly. all day the visits were great, learned smooch, a real eye opener. Then when it comes time for the show, I bombed so fucking bad. crickets. I couldn't get me. four chaplains were in the audience. I'm like aw shit.
I had walk - outs. I had amputees walk out. I had walk outs at an amputee show. That's bad.
So, only about 150 people, about 130 left at end of show I finally get a stroke of genius.
I said, alright lets cut the shit, maybe this didn't go that well. but I'll tell you what I did.
I brought my Emmy with me. so anybody who'd like to line up outside the table in the lobby and get your picture with your Emmy, I'll be there. every one of them. I signed pictures for four hours. they were so excited to get their picture with an Emmy. thought it was hysterical. so there they are with their purple hearts, bringing their babies and wheelchairs and walkers and fake legs, and they all took the picture holding the Emmy. it was awesome. so that was really the triumph. the show itself was a disaster. so I really hope bravo edits the show like I had this great performance because it was terrible.
And that's when you hear their stories, who feels what way about the war, their experiences, you hear the horror stories. They were very open.
(Kathy walks over to posters of her upcoming CD)
Kathy: I'm putting out a CD, never put one out, June 17, For Your Consideration, specifically putting it out to try to get a Grammy nomination. yeah. I want to be the new Rita Moreno. I want the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony, the Grammy. and maybe a Clio.
So, campaign is coming out on Sony, doing billboards, ads, billboard says something like she might have a lot of balls but doesn't have enough awards.
CD - AUDIO - CONCERT MATERIAL.
Once I've said something on television or DVD it's done. so you don't say, wait a minute I paid $70 a ticket and itÕs the same stuff I saw on Bravo. you will see new stuff.
(Kathy shows posters for her new CD)
Hugh: You've never been shy about shameless self promotion.
Kathy: Before you get so smug, can I please counter that with: I have to be. ya know what I mean? I'm not her (pointing to pictures of celebrities) okay! I'm not him.
I'm not him.
They all have lives much easier than mine.
Gwen Stefano: easier. Leno: easy.
Ron [Jeremy] what's his talent PORN.
Jim [Kimmel] already has a show.
Ricky Gervais: international.
Celine Dionne: she can sing.
Bill Maher? Boys club.
Name one of them that has to work as hard as I do. One!
You know who has to work as hard? My first amendment attorney. Harder than anyone. I've had the same first amendment attorney as Larry Flynt. He works pretty hard.
SO . . .
(she goes to kitchen, peers at salad, hets up chocolate muffin)
Kathy: I get this stuff called chef's diet. very Hollywood. they deliver the food to your house every day.
Hugh: You give them the control. They tell you what to eat.
Kathy: I like it. Here's the thing when it comes to this: I have no control. If somebody says, put the muffin in the microwave Kathy, otherwise I'll just have (unclear) all night long. And I'll think itÕs a meal.
Hugh: So, you're going to Hawaii tomorrow. I don't see you as a lying down on the beach type of girl.
Kathy: It's work. And at the hotel, two full press days. phoners and stuff.
Hugh: Do you ever want to just dis-engage from it all, and say 'My work here is done.'?
Kathy: No. I love my work too much. Honestly, I'm really good with like three days vacation. I'm not a big month in France person. It makes me feel too out of touch.
I enjoy it too much. Here's the thing: My whole life, I've been wanting this to come. I don't want to leave. I just got here. Just got here! And, it will go away. It will go away. So, I can't go. I've got to stay with it. It's here now.
- - - END - - -