When her publicist tries to connect us at 10:30am, Kathy Griffin’s still asleep after playing New Orleans the night before. When the phone rings at 11:30am, it’s Griffin on the line, a bit hoarse but, as always, lightning quick. “I’m initiating the call myself,” the 51-year-old says, “though I’m so famous.” In the spring, she’ll have a new talk show on Bravo, where her reality series My Life on the D-List ran for six seasons. This month, Griffin returns to her hometown for two nights of snappy, razor-tongued chatter on celebs and politics. And, can we hope, a prayer circle?
Any good holiday parties with A-listers?
You mean besides my dinner with Ryan Seacrest and Anderson Cooper and Carson Daly? And Ryan’s girlfriend, Julianne Hough—who, by the way, was very sweet and thinks I should get a hair campaign, like she thinks I should be the new Nice ’n Easy girl. And I told her, “Well, I’m easy. I’m halfway there. Not tonight!”
So: stripping down to your bra and underwear on Anderson’s New Year’s Eve special.
Come on, there are moments I have inspired genius, and I was very proud of that one because no one knew. I certainly didn’t tell my mother because, you know, she’s from the South Side of Chicago. She was not happy.
You keep raising the stakes there. Next year you can get Anderson’s boyfriend to come on and strip. I hear he’s got some guns, that guy.
Well, I can tell you that when I was on AC 360° the night before and I was sitting at Anderson’s news desk, he didn’t have pants on. Feel free to spread that rumor.
You’re gonna be relieved when he finally comes out on his talk show, so people like me can stop asking you about it.
I would love you to ask Anderson these questions, but I do enjoy that you think you’re the first one to do it. You have, like, a clever glint—I can actually hear a glint in your voice. You’re like, oh-hoo!
I know I’m not the first—I asked you about this three years ago.
Mm-hm. How’d that go?
About how it’s going now.
I also just saw you flaunt your rockin’ bod, as Anderson put it, on the Food Network with Paula Deen. You stripped to a bikini to impress her hunky gardener.
Yeah, ironically whose name was Griffin. Apparently, Griffin has a girlfriend and he’s faithful, and that was not part of my plan at all.
How is the love life going?
Uh, not bad [Laughs], actually. That’s the great thing about love. You never know when you can meet somebody. I’m a bitter, jaded motherfucker, and then every so often somebody will change my mind.
Give me some specifics. Clearly something’s going on.
The good thing about not doing a reality show anymore is I get to keep that part of my life private. He’s a nice guy, and that’s my thing. I really am a Chicago girl at heart. I’m not into the Hollywood glitz thing, like the gross bald producer with the beer gut that’s got the Russian prostitutes.
Let’s move on to another friend of the gays.
Let’s move on to Oprah.
Eh, we’ve talked about Oprah before.
Oh, really? You’re acting like her Next Chapter isn’t happening? The gays are just gonna let Oprah have her next chapter without them?
I don’t think we’re that interested in Oprah anymore, to be honest with you.
Whaaat? This is breaking news! The gays have dissed Oprah?! Oh, my God! Get me to a Pride fest! Is there a Milwaukee Pride fest I can go to today or something? I mean, I’m in New Orleans, I’ll go grab some gay Mardi Gras beads. I mean, oh my—this is fascinating to me.
I was gonna say Rick Santorum—he and Bachmann must be comedy gold for you.
Oh, it’s heaven. And let me ask you as a gay man, and I will pose this to the entire LGBTQIA community: Have you been able to do two things, as Rick Santorum very politely asked you? Have you been able to just stop being gay? His request was very direct and simple. He’s like, just stop. And have you guys been able to pray the gay away? Have you guys been able to knock that gay right out with Jesus?
Should we pray right now to see if it’ll work?
Good luck, honey, I’m an atheist. My prayers are just me trying to hum something I remember from Saint Bernardine’s in Forest Park, Illinois.
Good ol’ Santorum—or, as my community refers to him, lube and fecal matter.
As a comedian, I kind of hate to see them leave the race. When they say Michele Bachmann’s announcement to not run for President was emotional, I thought, Not as emotional as it was for me. I’m in a hotel room after doing a one-nighter in Wichita, sobbing, saying, “No, Michele! What’s it gonna take? Please! Give it one more shot!”
Kathy Griffin holds court at the Chicago Theatre January 20 and 21 at 8pm.
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