The reality show genre tends to absorb would-be conquerors- like Kathy Griffin, whose My Life on the D-List starts its third season Tue 5 at 10pm on Bravo. Griffin built her stand-up career recounting her obsession with tabloid gossip and her encounters with showbiz figures. She made her misadventures sound like a John Hughes movie remade by John Waters. She was everybody’s trash-talking best girlfriend—the one who scrawled dirt on the bathroom wall, then crowed, “Guess what I just read?”
But Griffin’s professional success ironically makes My Life on the D-List feel increasingly un-Kathy. It’s fun to see her recount her divorce from husband Matt Moline on Larry King’s show, explain why her assistant needs an assistant, banter with her mom and dad and share a house with a new tour manager who used to be her dog walker. But now that she’s more inside than outside, D-List feels too much like other shows built around celebrities.
Luckily, Griffin’s latest comedy special—a Carnegie Hall performance that fills the hour before D-List’s premiere—is as viciously amusing as anything she’s done. She riffs on celebrity mugshots, Lindsey Lohan’s queen-bee posturing, and Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s alleged recreational habits. She marvels at Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant: “I talk a lot of shit, but I don’t fuck with the Jews, the lesbians or Barbara Walters.” If D-List empowers her to do more specials, may it run forever. — Matt Zoller Seitz