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INTERVIEW - Laughing Our Heads Off with Kathy Griffin

Our favourite comic makes Calgary debut

Celebrity Interview by Jason Clevett (From GayCalgary® Magazine, May 2018, page 74)
Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin
Image by: Mike Ruiz
Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin
Image by: Mike Ruiz
Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin
Image by: Mike Ruiz
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"What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger."

It’s a saying that has been used to describe overcoming odds. If anyone can identify with that saying it’s Kathy Griffin. A year ago, a photo of Griffin posing with a model of a decapitated head of Donald Trump went viral for all the wrongs reasons. The backlash was swift – fired from her New Years Eve hosting gig by CNN, shows rapidly being cancelled, an FBI Investigation. It’s been a challenging year for the comic, and one that could be the end of a career for many. You can’t keep a good D-lister down, and Griffin is back on the road with a tour that brings her to Calgary May 31st and Vancouver June 2nd.

"That Trump Ketchup and Mask photo scandal happened on May 30th. I’m actually very excited to be in Canada for what I'm going to call the year anniversary. Oh do you want to hear something juicy do you want to know who was at my house that night? I just happened to have planned a dinner at my house with Kris Jenner and Melanie Griffith of all people! We had planned it for like a month and then the picture scandal sort of blew up and I thought you know what these two bitches have been through some shit so they're going to be the perfect women to come and have dinner with. It was quite a day you know," Griffin told GayCalgary.com. "I had no idea the picture was going to cause such a sensation, but I thought if anyone can parachute me out of here it's Kris Jenner. I wish she would have just made me a member the family and I could have dyed my eyebrows darker and my hair darker just to be in hiding for a while. You know, like Kylie."

While facing challenges at home, Griffin took her act on the road to Europe, where she played to enthusiastic audiences that also look at the US Government and shake their heads. She is looking forward to the same reception from Canadian audiences.

"I love that people get it in Canada, honestly it's kind of night and day. I talk about the whole thing. I even read a death threat on stage and I know that sounds kind of dark but after a while you just have to fucking laugh because it gets so crazy. Some of the death threats, I say this with caution, they kind of made me laugh and I'll tell you why - the Trump fans? Not so big on grammar. There's a little humor there also. People keep sending me Bibles to my house and it reminded me of the famous pray the gay away campaign and when I say reminded me I say every conservative politician still brings it up to this day. It's one of their go to’s. But I love that people are sending me Bibles on mass to try and save me. You make a joke here and it could be 5 days of hate mail. I also got old-time mail, the death threats came in many sizes shapes and colors and some of them came in old-fashioned mail."

She’s taken a difficult situation and turned to what she does best, a comedy routine that has taken her around the world.

"I've been looking for the comedy in all of it and it's fantastic to go overseas. I've been in 15 countries, 23 cities, I've gotten standing ovation every show. I've never had such fantastic material in my life! I'm so excited to go to your country as an American woman and stand on stage and go yeah, I'm happy to make fun of them, of him. I'm going to call Trump every name in the book. Once again, our accidental attorney-general, once again we have an accidental President because we have a meddled with election that was shady. It’s obvious to everyone my Hillary was robbed."

Griffin is concerned that while Trump is puffing his chest about Stormy Daniels or football players the Department of Justice is chipping away at LGBT rights.

"One of the things as Americans, we have to stay focused on it's not like he's this harmless blowhard, he is a harmful blowhard."

The gay community is a big supporter of hers and vice versa. Recently Sandra Bernhard was asked about Griffin being politically engaged and an activist for the gay community and said "She's an activist? I don't know I don't think she's an activist frankly. I mean she certainly takes advantage of the gay population in her way, but I don't think she's done anything earth-shattering for I mean I don't agree"

"I think my activism speaks for itself, it's very easy to look up. That's her opinion and I am sorry she feels that way because I think Sandra is very funny and very original and I wish she didn’t feel that way about me but what are you going to do."

Being a female comic seems to draw the LGBTQ Community. Griffin, Amy Schumer, Margaret Cho and dozens of other female comics have a massive love-love relationship with the community.

"The relationship really is organic because honestly like I was just a kid that found a gay kid in first grade and we just naturally became friends, whether he knew he was gay or I knew I was already a hag in first grade. I also do a rant in my show about how I personally at 57 don't want to be called a fruit fly, I want to be called a hag. I feel it’s a title I’ve earned, and I'm not offended by that words. I do know the young gays prefer fruit fly but when you have actually done the activism I’ve done darn it you've earned the name. I will say the thing I most admire about the LGBTQ community, I was there before the letters and numbers. What drew me to the community and vice-versa is when I started out I would do stand-up or perform anywhere I could, so I was in gay clubs and sometimes gay clubs would let me do comedy and sometimes they would say well its only singing night, so you have to sing a song. I'm a terrible singer but I would do anything for stage time and I'm sure that whenever I sing it probably built my gay comedy audience because they were probably laughing at me. What I respect the most about the gay community, and I say this as a feminist, I admire the community's ability to get together and get things done when the chips are down. I say this to my heterosexual female friends all the time, we have to learn from the gay community."

Griffin points to her experience after the photo came out as the difference.

"When women turn on women, and I experienced a lot of that with my Trump scandal, it doesn't help the cause. I find that typically the gay community realizes this isn't how you get shit done. Put your bickering bitchy stuff aside because when the chips are down the gay community gets together, writes legislation, pass bills, hires lobbyists, elects LGBTQ folk, and supports them and the gay agenda which is frankly an equality agenda for all of us. That's where we have work to do as women. For example, if you're watching the Me2 movement and the Times Up movement, we're in a period now with this insane Administration rolling back basic rights and civil liberties. I think one of the reasons I get along with the community and vice-versa I've been calling this stuff out and the gay community has had my back the whole time because we really have so much in common you know. The themes I've been talking about whether it was on My Life on the D-list or my Kathy talk show or my MTV show Kathy's So Called Reality have been dealing with gay themes and progressive gay themes. I think that's an important thing because as a woman I'm fighting for equality and obviously the LGBT community is fighting for the same thing. We need to work together more because we're actually fighting the same enemy. These conservatives and hardcore right-wingers, they're not fucking around. They would love to somehow figure out a way to roll back everything. I remember going and testifying before Congress for don't ask don't tell after I performed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm somewhat familiar with the military bases doing 4 tours overseas and obviously when I went that was an environment where the Gay service folk could be kind of out but not really, so there is still a lot of work to be done. One thing I also respect about the gay community is I feel like this is a community that we are simpatico because we both understand that laughter is going to get you through stuff."

"After the Trump photo those were statements that even my friends were saying about the photos, everybody fucking turned on me. It wasn’t like the Dixie Chicks, there was no divide. Nobody came in and saved the day. Nobody hired me. I think getting back one laugh at a time is something I'm grateful I can do because it's one of the few things that if a 57-year-old female comic can't really be stopped. Dudes that are mad at me or think I'm old or ugly or too out there. Who think I am being a wealthy woman who tells jokes, well I write all my own jokes I've never gotten a break from anybody. I love writing my own material. I'm in the Guinness Book of World Records for having done more stand-up televised comedy specials then any comedian male or female. I do that because I want younger women, younger LGBTQ folk, younger people of color, to see that and go you know what if that old bird did it a 57 I can do it. That's one of the reasons this tour is such a mission to me I mean obviously I want to make everyone laugh so that's number one don't worry! It's just important to me that younger LGBT folks that are experiencing more discrimination now than they did 2 years ago, this didn't just start with the inauguration it started with the campaign. I want them to once again go alright I'm going to go to the Kathy Griffin show and I'm going to go blow off some steam for a couple of hours and just laugh. Laugh your head off if you will. "

The purpose of the show is twofold. To make people laugh and because Griffin has a story to tell.

"The reason I want to tell it even in Canada, I really believe if this could happen to me it could happen to anybody. Canadians are telling me hang in there we feel bad for you but stay in there we're kind of one in the same. Trump tries to start shit with Trudeau and it's insane, we've got this American president who is trying to start shit with our own bordering countries! So that's one of the reasons I want to get out there and go other places and as you said the reception is much more obviously accepting. If nothing else I'm finding that audiences around the world respect my right to use the First Amendment, which is exactly what was one of my missions. Here in America one of the things is the Trump machine and the federal investigations, they suggested that that photo was illegal. I understand you can be as offended by that photo as you want but I didn't break the law. When Fox News and all those nutjobs at Breitbart say lock her up I just want people to know, and I'm not encouraging people to do this. But, if you could have 13-year-old kid and they put that picture on Twitter they should not be subject to a two-month federal investigation and hundreds of thousands of dollars of lawyer fees and constant death threats. I mean I’m on a kill list now! I just got a call last week from yet another Federal agency saying Oh Miss Griffin we have to let you know you’re on a kill list and it's an active investigation, so I actually can't tell you the agency or the city.  I don’t want to say I laugh but... Can I just be honest I was like who else is on the list is it famous people? Trust me when I call this agency there's a part of me that's like is it an A -list Kill List or is it a bunch of D-listers? So, you know I've got my sense of humor about it.

Griffin promises a memorable night when she comes to Calgary May 31st and Vancouver June 2nd.


"If Gay Calgary Magazine doesn't appreciate this than dammit no one will. If nothing else, please come to the show because I have the most Kick-Ass story about spending the day with Donald Trump and Liza Minnelli. I mean honey this story has all the bells and whistles. I tell the whole story and then there's a lot of Juicy parts too. I weave it all into the act, so I tell all the Trump stuff but because some of it is horrifying I then weave it in with light hilarious celebrity stories like having the Kardashian's as neighbors. I hope I teased you enough to buy tickets.  Please I'm begging you it's all about my mailing list. Go to kathygriffin.com to subscribe to the mailing list or text Kathy to 3 4 5 3 4 5 because now that I'm like a fugitive and I'm so ‘polarizing’ I can just blanket Calgary. I've got to find the people that have actually been reaching out to me all over social media. No joke Canadiens have been number 1 from May 30th last year going Oh for god sakes come here we get it. So, this mailing list is great because I'm actually able to get the people that actually want to come see the show hear the story hear the real deal and there's a hell of a lot of juicy dishy gossip too."


Kathy Griffin World Tour

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Contributor Jason Clevett |


Locale Calgary |


Person Kathy Griffin |


Topic Celebrity Interview |


(GC)

Kathy Griffin
Image by: Tyler Shields
Kathy Griffin
Image by: Tyler Shields
Kathy Griffin
Image by: Mike Ruiz
Kathy Griffin
Image by: Mike Ruiz

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