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Kathy Griffin: On her new show and Hollywood
NUNN ON ONE: COMEDY
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2012-04-25

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Illinois native comedian Kathy Griffin is bringing her lip service to a new talk show on Bravo, entitled Kathy, airing on Thursday nights. She will discuss politicians, celebrities and friends. Her mother, Maggie, will be along for the ride toting her box of wine.

Griffin began hitting the public eye with a role on NBC's Suddenly Susan and hasn't stopped since. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List earned her two Emmy Awards. The accolades continued with Grammy nominations for comedy albums and her autobiography topping the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Her outspoken support of the LGBT community has kept her in the hearts of many fans over the years. Windy City Times was excited to interview her again about her new projects.

Windy City Times: Hey, Kathy; great talking to you again.

Kathy Griffin: Great talking to you again, too.

WCT: What took you so long to do this project? You seem like a logical person to host a talk show.

KG: I'm just begging for my career to go in the crapper and saying, "Please, can't I go back to being a temp?" I was very happy making $140 a week.

So, actually, you are correct; it was sort of the natural progression. I have appeared on so many shows and, in fact, co-hosted everything from week two of Jimmy Kimmel Live to, of course, rather infamously, The View, The Talk, to the old '90s Rosie O'Donnell Show.

Then Bravo finally came to me with the idea that I host a talk show. But, believe it or not, a couple of years ago I told them I felt I had more "D-List" left in me and I was able to go to Iraq and perform there in a maximum security prison and do the type of things outside the studio I still had a burning desire to do.

So when I felt that had really run its course in a good way, I did four stand-up specials last year, and then we started to have a serious talk about a talk show.

WCT: I heard there are no celebrity guests on the show.

KG: Why would I? How could I possibly say the things to celebrities that America wants to say? And when I say America, I mean also Canada and maybe a few Secret Service Agents in Cartagena.

WCT: What current obsessions will you be talking about?

KG: There's so many. First of all there is, of course, everything from actual genuine news items, and I am very into The Celebrity Apprentice, although I do not concur with Donald Trump—who I believe is a birther now—but I do like the cast of that show.

I went to my mom's apartment last night because she only stays at my house until she finds me annoying, and then basically she kicks herself out. She would really like me to just have a panel of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. So, unfortunately, I had to shoot that one down.

I'm loving everything from the fact that the Wilson Phillips gals have their own reality show to the fact that they performed at a Loehmann's days ago. I just want to say Loehmann's is a clothing store where people sell clothing for women. It's not typically a concert arena.

WCT: Is anything off limits?

KG: No, nothing is off limits and no person is off limits. And that's another reason I really kind of have to just surround myself with civilians. I know I'm kind of talking like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, but I do need civilians because I feel that, unlike celebrities, they can probably speak freely.

WCT: Were you inspired by other talk shows?

KG: Kids Say the Darndest Things, and Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader. No, to tell you the truth, I'm 51 years old, so truly my inspirations go back to even ... Jack Paar was before my time. Elements of Johnny Carson inspired me, [ but ] I'm not saying I'm Johnny Carson. But everything from when Joan Rivers took over and was outrageous, unlike anybody we'd seen on TV before, to the Mike Douglas Show.

And then, you know, all the shows that are currently on, I watched them. I love them. But I'm going to really have a lack of structure that'll be dazzling to you and will be a nightmare for the editing booth. I think it should have kind of a discussion feel, a chatty feel. More importantly, people should feel free to say whatever the fuck they want.

WCT: Will there be box wine?

KG: Yes. There's going to be box wine. My mother, who has become a rather famous international superstar, is trying to pull some typical diva BS where now she wants wine in a bottle. It's going to be a little McLaughlin Group, but with a drunken 91-year-old.

WCT: Have you banned anyone from the show yet?

KG: I have not banned myself but that's up to the network's discretion. I guess I could try to be cool and act like I banned some dead people—like, Napoleon's totally banned, Elvis not invited, Tupac Shakur or Biggie or a hologram of any of those people. So, no, I haven't banned anybody. I haven't banned a fucking throw pillow. I haven't even started yet.

WCT: Are you scared of anyone in Hollywood?

KG: No; that's the problem. I'm trying to think of people I should be afraid of. I just think that it is antithetical to all things comedy to be afraid of someone because I think that it's important that they're all fair game and that they're all on the table.

I mean, I guess I might be a little bit afraid of Lou Ferrigno because he did threaten to throw Lisa Lampanelli out a window on The Celebrity Apprentice. Okay, I admit it—I'm a little nervous around DMX when I watch him on Couples Therapy. But these aren't people that are really in my daily world.

WCT: I don't know if you noticed but you have a lot of gay fans.

KG: Thank God!

WCT: What do you have for that audience on the show?

KG: I have a little too much for them. Look, my struggle's going to be to get the straights. So this show is for women and gay men. It's for married men on the down low. It's for experimental men that have girlfriends that dress very well and have something to tell her but they can't find the right time. It's for guys who maybe just cheated on their girlfriends and now they need to make it up to her, so they will do fucking anything. It's for guys that fake it and act like they care about women's issues, but don't give a shit and they're trying to get laid. That's my demographic.

WCT: So you are expanding your fan base. What do you think of celebrities getting tattoos of their significant others, like Kelsey Grammer for example?

KG: Well, first of all, I'm fucked more than anybody. Because I don't know if you know this, but I have one tattoo on my whole body like an asshole and it's a fucking wedding ring and I'm divorced. So why you don't tell that to Kim Kardashian? She'll be thrilled.

So I got married. And I don't like to wear rings, so I got a ring tattooed on my finger. Now I'm divorced and I tried to get it lasered off five times and it won't come off. And so I think I'm just going to put a freaking cigarette on it one day and just bite a piece of cloth like I'm a Civil War victim.

WCT: You are heading to Illinois soon on tour, I heard.

KG: Well, let me just say that I will be rocking Joliet, which as you know is a very short drive from Chicago. And I will be in Joliet at the—Jesus Christ, I don't know the name of the theater. I'm going to say the Joliet Prison Performing Arts Center.

WCT: [ Laughs ] It's called the Rialto.

KG: Oh, yes. I'm going to be at the Rialto Square May 20 in beautiful, scenic Joliet, Ill. You might want to mention that in your article to give you the edge.

Visit www.rialtosquare.com for ticket information and www.bravotv.com for listings on the new talk show.


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