When tickets for Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall went on sale a few months ago, I quickly bought one. I got one of the few seats left in the theater and looked forward to capping off my Pride Month with a ‘date night for one’ to see one of my favorite comedians.
I’ve seen Kathy Griffin twice before, both times in Atlantic City, and I’ll be honest — I had issues with them. Though formerly ostracized from the Hollywood status quo, her personal brand had become so successful that her ability to play the part of the pariah seemed phony. Griffin had just moved right next door to the Kardashians, proving that her own success as an ‘outsider’ had finally ushered her into the ‘inside’ she famously mocked in her act. The shows felt long, some of the stories longwinded. I had trouble finding the comedy in many of them, as most were just retellings of awkward celebrity encounters. Regardless, I still considered myself a fan.
Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall sold out in less than 24 hours. Demand was so high that she’d decided to add another New York City performance the night before at Radio City Music Hall. Anyone who thinks her career ended with that silly photo of her holding a Trump mask doused in ketchup, just take a look at her ticket sales.
She began last night’s show in typical Kathy fashion, with a reel showcasing her achievements: two Emmys, one Grammy, a record-breaking number of comedy specials. When she took to the stage her energy was through the roof — a roof that has previously housed gay icons like Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand.
Griffin began with the same sort of frenetic storytelling I’ve seen her do before, but something was different this time. It was like she felt less afraid to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The ‘outsider’ in her was back again.
“I am the mayor of Zero Fucksville. Welcome to my town,” she began.
“First of all, I have to apologize to the gays for my shoes [she was wearing flats]. I feel your judgment. I feel your love, but I know it’s conditional, trust me.” The audience was eating it up. “What about if tonight is for the lesbians? I love you sir, ma’am, I don’t judge.”
Not only were the jokes I witnessed at last night’s Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall show on point, but her stories had real depth and meaning. These days Kathy Griffin has something important to say.
This bitch is back.
It’s been said that an artist has to experience life before they’re able to imitate it with their art, and maybe some semblance of that had to happen for Kathy Griffin to uncover her brilliant new material with a purpose. Unlike before, the 2 hours and 27 minutes of Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall went by quickly. So quickly that audience members left whispering to one another, “I wanted more.”
Here are six things we learned from last night’s Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall show:
1. She’s actually happy Caitlyn Jenner is an asshole.
In probably one of the most biting parts of the night, Griffin went on a rant against Caitlyn Jenner.
“How much fun is it that Caitlyn Jenner is such an asshole?” she asked the crowd. “What a delight when we found out she’s such an idiot and wears a MAGA hat and went to Trump Tower like Kanye on whatever cocktail he’s on. I’m just saying, as a comedian I am like ‘Thank God,’ because all she cares about is her fucking Tom Ford bag and she thinks Trump is going to make America great again for trans people. Don’t hold your breath.”
2. Amy Schumer and Bette Midler sent Griffin messages of support after the Trump photo scandal.
Bette Midler — who was in the audience of last night’s Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall performance — wrote Griffin a letter of support after the May 2017 photo publication. Midler was one of the few celebrities Griffin mentioned who supported her in the aftermath of the photo.
Another celebrity who sent a more comical video message of support was Amy Schumer, who along with Nikki Glazer and a few other female comics sent a video message saying, “Girl, that photo … your hair looks amazing!”
3. Kathy Griffin’s sister got death threats on her deathbed.
During this admission, Griffin broke out in tears for a few seconds, explaining that not only did she get death threats but her mother at her mother’s retirement community got them, too. Not only that, her sister, who was sick with cancer in the hospital at the time, got death threats as well. In September 2017, Griffin’s sister passed away.
4. Kathy Griffin blames Andy Cohen for canceling her Bravo show.
“I haven’t had a TV show since that piece of shit Andy Cohen kicked me off Bravo. Burning bridges as soon as I build them,” she joked. “Andy Cohen, when he was the fucking intern, just wanted to be me the whole time. So later he fired my ass and then gave himself — this is unprecedented in the history of television when the guy who decides what shows are on gives himself a talk show that features fake Twitter questions. They’re not even real.”
Kathy Griffin wasn’t pulling punches about Cohen last night: “That piece of shit fires me and give himself a talk show that gets picked up every year magically. It’s like he does the right people.”
5. Stevie Nicks once sang “Landslide” for Kathy Griffin during a private sound check.
Griffin revealed that while she was in Australia she visited Stevie Nicks during a sound check before one of the rock goddess’s shows. “Stevie is the way you think she is. If you ask her to twirl, she will twirl,” Griffin told the crowd last night.
Before ending the sound check, Nicks surprised Griffin with a performance of one of her favorite songs. Griffin quotes Nicks as saying, “You guys, I know I promised we were only going to do one song, but my friend Kathy is here and she is having a really bad year, so lets sing “‘Landslide’ for her.”
Later in last night’s Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall show she quotes Nicks as saying, “Kathy has gotten in a lot of trouble with the government and it’s been a very difficult year for her because she took a picture of the president we all wanted to take, but she actually took it.” Love that!
6. CNN’s Jeff Zucker docked Griffin’s pay when she asked for a raise after eight years.
Last night Griffin told the crowd that after she asked for more money when her CNN gig with Anderson Cooper was extended from 90 minutes to four hours, Jeff Zucker not only didn’t give her the raise but docked her 30%.
“I did end up doing it for two more years, but after I asked for the raise Zucker docked me 30%,” Griffin told the crowd. “Next time I see Sheryl Sandberg [the author of Lean In], I am gonna slap that bitch in the face. I leaned in, and all I got was track marks on my face. Every time I ‘lean in’ I have to get a new nose. She should write a sequel: What Happens When Your Face Breaks.”
Kathy, if you’re reading, we’re glad you’re back where you belong.