We’ve learned a lot about Kathy Griffin from her show My Life on the D-List. We’ve seen her shunned at chili cook offs, host depressingly corporate events, and struggle to train her dogs. We’ve witnessed her divorce and watched her cope with her father’s failing health and then his passing. We’ve also seen her sell out Carnegie Hall, travel to Ireland to receive an award and debut her show abroad. Thus, I think it is fair to say we’ve seen the good and the bad of her life. But her stand-up show is a different beast. It’s where she teaches us about the real life of other celebrities, and I love her for it.
Her newest Bravo special is called Straight to Hell, and it’s where she feels she is certain to go. Of course, she has to launch the show by regaling us with her side of her speech debacle at the Emmy’s (or, as she called them – the Shmemmy’s, since her category was not part of the televised event). Just in case anyone missed it, she lampooned all the stars who thank Jesus in their acceptance speeches by saying that Jesus had nothing to do with her winning, that he probably didn’t even like her and her grand finale was the now infamous "Suck it, Jesus! This award is my God now"! What we didn’t know was that her speech was written by one of the writers for Zoey 101 on Nickelodeon. Now, that, my friends, is the chocolate covered cherry on the ice cream sundae.
That is just one of the reveals she hands us about what goes on behind the scenes of celebrity, but my favorite theme is this: most celebrities are exactly as you think they are. All those times you’ve heard someone say that they were taken out of context, that what we see is just a persona, or that they were edited to look a certain way? Kathy tells us it’s all bullsh*t. Paris Hilton is just as retarded as we all suspect. This was proven when she got lost on stage at a recent awards show, wandering around the podium in confusion while the audience watched in bewilderment – a part of the show that was edited out before it aired on television.
She knows her audience well, too. At one point, she asks her standard "Where are my gays?" to a cacophony of shouts and applause. Then she adds "And what about women, lesbian or otherwise?". She follows that with a meek "And….straight men?" to a smattering of a response. She apologizes for not speaking their language before asking how many of them were dragged by their wives are girlfriends. She also admits that all the press she received from The Catholic League and different Christian groups reacting to her speech was heaven for her. Having been raised Catholic myself, I can understand the thrill of defiance for something that at base is really pretty silly. I doubt Jesus is involving himself in the Blockbuster Music Awards. Her audience totally gets these things.
She lets us in on the sorts of things that most of us will never get the opportunity to know. Such as, apparently James Lipton, of Inside the Actor’s Studio fame, is a close talker who gives off a distinct To Catch a Predator vibe. Martha Stewart makes her assistants wear matching uniforms. Even worse, they are khaki pants, salmon shirts and little kerchiefs. I would quit. She takes it a little overboard when she muses about putting her own staff in uniforms made of thongs, tutus and pasties. I don’t want to see that much of Tom.
My grandfather used to say that red hair was a warning from God, and Kathy is living proof that this is the case. When someone suggested to Bill Maher that he have Kathy on his show, he apparently replied with a sarcastic comment about how if wanted to know what was going on in the world, Kathy is not the person he would go to. She shot back "I just got back from Iraq, when are you going Bill"? This made me squeal in glee, mostly because Bill Maher seems like a pervy uncle who always gets drunk at family events and stands too close to his not quite legal nieces and tries to be "hip" and "relatable" to them.
On the other hand, Kathy looks great (though I question the navy shirt with black pants choice) and happy on stage. I truly believe that she lives to perform and it’s a lot of fun to watch. I saw her live, actually, earlier this year – so I speak from first hand experience. Of course, all the material from her live show didn’t make it onto Bravo – only HBO is that liberal, after all – but what is there is strong stuff. And it wasn’t a total rehash of the live show either, there were jokes I hadn’t heard at all, so it’s easy to believe that her act is constantly evolving. For the record, I was one of the women dragging a straight man with her to the show. However, by the time we left the theater, he was a total convert – to his own surprise – and now counts himself a Kathy fan as well. You see? I am doing my part!
The best of the show comes at the end, when she dishes about The View. I am not going to touch the topic too much myself, because I tangled with the Rosie fans once before. However, Kathy helped host after the big fight, putting her in the thick of some major Hollywood drama. It also put her in touch with Barbara Walters, whom Kathy apparently loves to torment every chance she gets. I’m not going to give away specifics, but if you don’t laugh about the punch at the end of the menopause conversation from The View’s make-up room, than I don’t know what to do with you.