Interview: Kathy Griffin

We get to know the hilarious American comedian before she debuts on our shores with her 'Laugh Your Head Off' world tour

Photo: Kathy Griffin

Trigger warning: there is none. Unapologetic, brazen and feisty – nothing gets in the way of this spunky red-head. Not even a particular ‘President Agent Orange’. From pop culture to politics to everything in between, expect amusing analysis from the award-winning comedian as she tears up the stage with her wicked humour. But before she sets The Star Theatre ablaze, we have a quick chat with the hilarious Kathy Griffin to find out how she's doing on her debut world tour, Laugh Your Head Off.

The year has been a complete whirlwind for you. How have you been dealing with everything personally?

I’ve been dealing with it the only way I know how – through my comedy filter. There is a great history of comedians trying to make a difficult or even tragic situation funny for my audience. It’s been cathartic and therapeutic to sift through all of the B.S. and cherry pick parts on everything from my own mother’s hilarious reaction to genuine death threats and put them together in a way that is so over the top, it is actually quite funny.

This is the first time you’re doing a world tour. How’s it been like performing outside of the US?

Heaven! Honestly it is night and day compared to the reaction I have been getting in my own country. In the USA, journalists ask me the oddest questions as if I have actually broken the law or something. Every journalist I have dealt with for this overseas tour has “gotten it.” It’s refreshing to know that outside the Donald Trump bubble, the rest of the world actually has a sense of humour when we need it the most.

You’re also making your debut in SingaporeWhat are you most looking forward to during your stop here?

The culture. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Singapore and never thought a little ol’ comedian from Forest Park, Illinois would have this opportunity. Like many comedians, I am a living sponge. I can’t wait to take it all in and report back to myfriends. Most Americans perceive the Singaporean culture as mysterious. I have yet to speak to one American who has visited Singapore who does not come back with glowing and fascinating stories.

"When you are a female comic, you simply have to work 10 times harder and jump 10 times higher than the boy comics"

Have you been exploring most of the cities you’ve toured in?

Oh yes! That is the most fun part of the tour. Of course, giving the best and absolutely funniest performance I can is the main objective. But absorbing the sites, sounds, and energy of each city and country is a dream of a lifetime. Also a great way to get material (wink).

You’ve once toured at least 80 cities, and now you’re doing almost 20 shows back-to-back. How do you usually keep things fresh for yourself?

My shows are highly improvisational. They are raw and imperfect, but my fans know they are getting new and different material from the night before. That is what I love the most about the fluid nature of live performing.

As a female comedian who has been in the scene for a long time now, what do you think has been your biggest career takeaway?

When you are a female comic, you simply have to work 10 times harder and jump 10 times higher than the boy comics. I am honest about this because one of my goals in life is to encourage as many young women, LGBT folks, people of colour, and any other disenfranchised people, that if they dream of a career in comedy or any kind of live performing (or even on television), then you’ll have to work harder. Take it from me, you’ll end up having the time of your life! There is no better feeling than making people laugh.

If you could go back in time to meet your younger self, what advice would you give to yourself?

Don’t waste your time trying to conform. I have had facelifts, eye jobs, and dieted myself to exhaustion. All for nothing. The way I have been lucky enough to make my mark in this industry is to be my most honest, out there, real, and funny self. But remember, it’s not just about any comic or myself; you must always put the audience first. Their laughter is what matters.

What has been the most memorable moment of the Laugh Your Head Off tour so far?

It was at the Sydney Opera House and it was only my second live performance of the tour. Halfway through the show, I welled up with tears because I felt I had to acknowledge my sister Joyce who recently passed away from cancer. And for the first time in 22 years, the venue's entire sound system mysteriously broke down and had to be rebooted for 20 minutes. I was so fearful and insecure that my audience may get bored and leave that I literally leapt into the crowd and ran up and down the aisles taking selfies with fans. A real night to remember! The fans stayed, they laughed, and in the end, they stood! I knew I had done my job that night.

Catch Kathy Griffin at The Star Theatre on Nov 3 at 8pm. Tickets are available at apactix.com and sistic.com

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