Kathy Griffin is prolific, not only in the number of comedy specials she’s done over the years, but in her ability to yammer. In a recent phone interview with C-VILLE Weekly ahead of her June 19 date at The Paramount Theater, she cut off more questions than she answered. But that didn’t stop her from hitting topics from Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett to Caitlyn Jenner and Anderson Cooper.
Kathy Griffin: Are you recording this?
C-VILLE Weekly: Yes.
KG: Good because I don’t like to be taken out of context. When it comes to jokes, it is all about context.
I can’t imagine anyone would ever take you out of context.
No! How dare anyone? No one would have the nerve, not when I can clarify it doing 80 cities live this year on my Like a Boss tour. I named the tour Like a Boss because someone pointed out to me, ‘you’ve done so many tours and specials,’ 23 stand-up comedy specials. I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records. I have so much material, and I write it all myself. A lot of comedians don’t write their own material.
What can C’ville expect to see from you at the Paramount?
I love doing the 80 cities because after at least 30 years of Hollywood telling me live is going to go away, they were wrong. I saw it firsthand the other night. I went to see Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at the Hollywood Bowl. It was so great because it was legit—no lip sync and no auto-tune.
I was in an elevator with them after the show, and Lady Gaga has two wrapped gift boxes, and she hands one to Tony and one to me and says these are eggs from my own chickens. She says, ‘Do you like eggs,’ and I said ‘Yes,’ and she said, ‘Do you really like them? Are you really going to eat them?’ And I said yes, and last night my boyfriend cooked me a Gaga omelet.
You’re playing a lot of smaller markets on this tour. Have you ever been to Charlottesville?
Yes. I love it there. I don’t want to say the comedy comes second to the food; I am just saying I know a town with great food. I will have to try to restrain myself from God only knows what you crazies have deep-fried that day. I will still have to be mindful of the fact that I have a 9pm show, so I can’t go too crazy. But after the show it’s going to be game on. I am not going to go to Charlottesville and not have Southern food, that’s for sure.
Are your shows unique from city to city?
One of the things we are learning from the whole Caitlyn thing being such a global story is that there is one America. The world isn’t just Hollywood or downtown Manhattan. There is a whole world out there, and every place is different. A couple weeks ago I had an audience that was so great I accidentally did two hours and 40 minutes. I had my crew manager giving me the light like my old club days. I take the audience’s temperature, and whatever they’re into, that’s where I go. It’s a relationship. I am going to of course try to lead you down a dark path.
Lewis Black recently played here and did a C’ville specific bit. Do you have anything special for us?
Always. I always start with the local material, because that’s what’s fun about touring. I don’t get these comics that have this perfectly written hour and they do it for three years on autopilot. That’s not my thing. The audience isn’t going to know what I’m going to say because I don’t know.
It seems like new material has never been a problem for you.
Well, yeah that’s why I’m in the fucking Guinness Book of World Records. I cannot stop coming up with new material, and I blame the world because the world will not stop giving me material. Take my 95-year-old mother Maggie and her box of wine. I have to keep her up to date on the Duggars because she is a little behind the curve and she thinks the Duggars are a harmless Christian family, and I had to sit her down and break the news that she is not allowed to watch the Duggars anymore and the sooner they go to prison the better.
Your style of comedy also generates a lot of backlash. Does it ever get tiring?
No. That is when I know I am doing my job. I don’t feel like I have really done my job until I have a good solid walkout, and I fully expect one in Charlottesville. Sometimes I can kind of feel that moment. Other times you can never predict what people will be offended by. But the point is, I will never stop trying to offend them.
Last question. Will you please take it easy on Anderson Cooper during the New Year’s Eve show this year? You make him so uncomfortable.
Oh no. How dare you? Anderson Cooper is so fucking perfect, with his perfect model face and his perfect body and his silver fox hair, and he needs me more than he realizes. I humanize Anderson Cooper. I have let the world know that he can be reduced to tears, and I love to make Anderson Cooper laugh and cry.
Kathy Griffin performs at The Paramount Theater on June 19.