Kathy Griffin Dishes on Donald Trump, Grammy Parties and Why Britney Spears Needs Help (Exclusive)
Let’s be honest: Kathy Griffin ain’t on the D-list anymore.
Griffin has officially outranked the list she called home for so many years. Now invited to the red carpets she used to crash, she still confronts Hollywood with her no-nonsense style of wit and humor that has amassed her a huge gay following. She’s also ready to take on Washington, D.C., as the current political climate has created the perfect temperature for a brash comic like her.
Griffin is still compiling and reporting on the crazy celebrity encounters she has on a daily basis. Not only does she bring her fans these accounts in her latest book, Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index, but also on the road as she just set off on a 50-city tour that will be coming to the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City this Friday night.
We had the opportunity to dish with Griffin, and nothing was off limits. From booing Megyn Kelly to Steve Bannon’s “meth problem” to Britney Spears stealing Johnny Weir’s look, Griffin reminded us in just 20 minutes why she has earned her spot on the A-list and why we may just need her now more than ever.
Hi, Alex! I have been looking forward to this more than I can tell you.
Did you watch the Grammys?
Oh, you want to hear something funny? I had to watch them really late because I got a corporate gig and my inner Joan Rivers would not let me turn down a paid gig to watch something I could DVR. But, of course I watched it! More importantly, I went to the freaking Clive Davis party the night before, and Alex, that is where the shit is going down.
Wasn’t Joni Mitchell there?
Oh my God! I love you for knowing who she is! No, seriously, it’s so funny your site is called Unicorn Booty because I always think of Joni Mitchell as a unicorn. She is somebody who does not make the rounds. But she showed up and she was in a wheelchair and everyone was on their feet for her. I got to sit next to the great Judy Collins, who as a surprise sang “Both Sides Now” to Joni. It was so cool! Jennifer Hudson was taping it on her phone. Diddy was on his feet. It was a really cool moment to see all the young kids showing some respect!
Were there any other great celebrity run-ins from your night?
Ugh, yes! First of all, did you see the red carpet photos of Britney? Here is what happened, and you know you are only going to hear this stuff from me. So I am driving up in my rented ballgown and my rented jewelry with my boyfriend who is 18 years younger … don’t start, Alex!
I actually saw him once. The last time you played the Borgata, I saw the two of you come in that night. I was one of the gay boys yelling at you in the hotel lobby, but you and your trade boyfriend were running away to the bougie elevators to go to your suite. But I did catch a glimpse of him, and he’s very cute.
I am not going to apologize. [Laughs] I go to the Clive party, and it is always a clusterfuck on these red carpets. And, you know, I am just me, even though I have a Grammy and I am a six-time nominee. So I get to go, and I am friends with Clive Davis—I just love the spectacle. So anyway, I am driving up and I see Brit’s manager Larry Rudolph, who is a friend of mine, and I say to my boyfriend, “What is Larry doing here?”
Sure enough, I am waiting to do the red carpet, and they shut the red carpet so Brit could do it and have literally nobody anywhere near her. They don’t want someone like me talking to her or asking her what her name is or what state she lives in or …
That’s right! I am looking at the photos now, and I don’t mean to blame you personally, but Alex, we’ve got to get her a better gay! Who is putting her in these Michelle Kwan Dancing with the Stars ice skating outfits? I love her, and her body is insane, and it doesn’t really bother me that she hasn’t sung since the age of 11, but for god’s sake, enough with the Forever 21 dresses.
I am looking at it now, and you’re right—it’s very Dancing with the Stars.
I think Johnny Weir has the same dress she was wearing that night. On Johnny I would totally accept it. Just so you know, everybody was there. Mary J. Blige was there, but they closed down the red carpet for Britney. She didn’t do any interviews … duh. Next, she goes to the front of the room for a photo with the head of the Grammys and then leaves. I love it! I, of course, did not have that experience. [Laughs] Like, Clive Davis would personally call me and rip me a new asshole if he found out that I left his party early. I am, of course, no Britney.
I did see a lot of dirt. One thing I have to tell you about: I have this whole chip on my shoulder about being a 56-year-old chick comic and not getting the recognition that I deserve. I am a bitter bitch. I do like to say, “Hey! I am only one of three women who got a Grammy for a comedy album! Let’s go folks! Let’s try to catch up with the times!” I am also not above mining a party for gold, so of course I did. While we were waiting for Britney to do her moment, we formed an impromptu girl squad. I live for moments like this. I introduced the great folk singer Judy Collins to Courtney Love. I then convinced them that we should be the new squad. I have squad goals too, you know! I know Taylor Swift has a squad, but I feel like that is fading a little. Me, Courtney Love and Judy Collins could do anything.
Would Megyn Kelly be in your squad?
Can you believe that shit? So first of all … really, girl?
Because I love that you booed her during her speech at the Hollywood Reporter‘s “Women in Hollywood” brunch.
Excuse me, how about nobody had my back? The first half of her speech, she is getting an award … fine. But then when she says, “I want you all to give our new president a chance. He has so many wonderful qualities.” I give this look around in a room full of way wealthier and more powerful people than I—like, Tina Fey. Really? Nobody is going to speak out? I just did it. Boooo!! I had to!
My mother is still furious with me, by the way. Furious! “How could you do that to my girlfriend Megyn Kelly, goddamn it? She is so beautiful and you just embarrassed the family name again. Where is my goddamn wine?”
Not on my watch. You are not going to sit there and say how great our “Precedent” is. I call him “Precedent” because he can’t spell. I am very proud of the photo online of a crowd of Hollywood insiders and me flipping the bird. And, by the way, I was really flipping it more at what she was saying about the Cheeto. But, whatever … do your thing girl. Do you.
Honey, that is what I do, and that is why I love touring, because Hollywood has tried to put me out to pasture. I have done 23 specials. I am in the Guinness Book of World Records. I have done more than any male or female, living or dead. At 56 years old, Hollywood is all like, “But you’re a woman and you are all old and everything.” You have just made my fire brighter and higher. If you think I am holding back because of the Cheeto or anything or Hollywood, I am only getting worse. I don’t mean my comedy. I would like to think my comedy is getting better. I am saying I am getting more loud and proud. I assume you’re marching?
Of course! Protesting is the new brunch.
Yes! But seriously, it is really encouraging. I am doing 50 cities on this tour, and the joke about this administration is that I go to to the real America! I have performed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have performed in an army base in Uzbekistan. I refuse to take any of those criminals seriously, so I will of course make fun of them endlessly.
I get it. I am going to be at the Borgata in Atlantic City on Friday, and I am just hoping and praying that the gays make the drive. Don’t leave me hanging there if there’s one drunk giant Steven Bannon fan who just screams, “Make American Great Again!”
While we are on the topic, I have a question for you. I am of course alleging this, and I am covered by the First Amendment while we still have one: tell me Steve Bannon isn’t doing meth.
It’s great that this is the guy who is the “Precedent’s” number one psycho, Nazi and racist adviser who Kellyanne Conway loves to call so “smart.” But those photos of him! It looks like he is picking at scabs or something. Everyone just wants to write him off as merely an alcoholic. But I am thinking it is booze with a little bit of what I like to call weekend meth.
My mother drinks a box of wine a day! I know what a mere, harmless alcoholic looks like.
I am obsessed with her. This is why I am a bad feminist, because I have negative feelings for her that cannot be described. But this is why I need the gays to come to my shows. We need to say to her as a group, “Bitch, when you go to Gucci, you don’t buy the whole fucking mannequin!”
I have a question for you. We can speak freely. Do you feel like she got a bad gay or a conniving gay who said, “I will style you! I know just what to do, girl.”
I think all the gays ran away from her, so she is shit out of luck.
So you think she is calling up Bristol Palin to style her? Bristol would do it for nothing. She would do it for five bucks and a sperm deposit.
I asked people to submit questions on Facebook. Anne Marie Scalies asked me to ask you, “What was your most endearing celebrity encounter?”
That is a great question, because most people want to know who is an asshole. I have had a lot of pleasant surprises. I just had a conversation with Aguilera recently, who is in my book and she didn’t know it. I said to her when I saw her, “Aguilera! I immortalized you! I made you famous in my book!” And she goes, “Will you stop being mean now?” And then I told her, “I wasn’t being mean! You didn’t even know you were in the book until just now.” I then told her the story in the book and Aguilera said, “That’s not too bad.” I said, “Yeah it’s fine. And it’s also true!”
And then it was cute because an hour later—she may have had a drink or two, which is also fine with me—she put her fingers around my mouth and I stuck my tongue out making a very vulgar gesture and someone took a photo and she left. So I thought to myself, that’s a win. Aguilera went from being like, “I am going to walk away from you, because you’re mean” to then the two of us doing a very inappropriate gesture of what I imagine Oprah and Gayle do on a nightly basis.
She would be going harder. She would be doubling down. We talked about this a lot: When you are a chick comic it is in our DNA to know that we have to work harder and jump harder than the boys. Our male counterparts are all making 10 times what Joan made or what I make. Even though Joan had the QVC empire, which was amazing, but I think she would be going really hard. She would be making fun of everyone and everything.
One thing I am very much enjoying as her friend, it’s really touching that she is finally getting the real respect she earned her whole life. Let’s be honest, she didn’t get the credit she deserved. It was so fascinating to me when she passed away. God, it was like the county asked, “What are we are going to do without her?”
I think that’s a good thing. In this political climate, we certainly need a few comedic voices out there not giving a fuck. Joan didn’t give two fucks or one fuck. And I definitely don’t even give half of a fuck.
Catch Kathy Griffin Friday, Feb. 17 at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa or nationwide this spring.
(photo via Mike Ruiz)