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Feisty Q&A with Kathy

The feisty award winning, redheaded comedian known simply as Kathy Griffin makes her way back to the Granite State on Wednesday, Aug. 19. That said, mark the calendar and make your way to the Casino Ballroom for her incendiary #LikeABoss tour. It’s on a Wednesday, so not only will there be a firecracker on the stage, there’ll also (literally) be firecrackers launched from the beach there in Hampton. Get ready for an explosion (or two).

EDGE: Why comedy? Was there a moment or experience in particular that led you to chase comedy as a profession?

Griffin: Have you met my mother? Her name is Maggie. She’s 95 years old. She watches FOX News and drinks wine out of a box. I had no other choice.

EDGE: In regards to being an effective communicative agent, where does comedy rank? I think it’s the best form of news…

Griffin: Okay, get ready for me to blow your mind. I miss my friend and mentor Joan Rivers more than I can tell you. What you may not know is that Joan was very close with the Royals…as in Chuck and Camilla. You heard me. It was my honor to accompany Joan to none other than Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace where Prince Charles himself whispered in my ear, “If it weren’t for newspapers and comedians, who would keep us honest?” How badas* is that?

EDGE: Your first televised appearance was a Chicago White Sox ad. Are you a baseball fan? Why are there virtually no redheads in major league baseball?

Griffin: How can you say that to me when you know that Ryan Dempster and I are meant to procreate and continue the ginger species? Okay I don’t know very much about sports but if you’re talking redheads, is it too late for singer Rick Astley to join the White Sox with me?

EDGE: You’re one of three ladies to win the Grammy for best comedy album. The other two? Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg. That seems like a great honor. When do they present you with a lifetime achievement award?

Griffin: Seriously! This is some BS! Often when I’m alone walking through my mansion in my underwear, I present myself with one. While I would love a lifetime achievement award as only the third female to win for Best Comedy Album I often console myself by cuddling with my two primetime Emmy Awards and my plaque from the Guinness Book of World Records for starring in and writing the most televised standup comedy specials of all-time.

EDGE: Hot Cup Of Talk: The premise of this series really differentiated you in regard to how live comedy was/is presented on stage. If you can trace those roots for a second, what initiated that idea? What were your goals behind putting together that series, and how quickly did your pals/stagemates respond to the format? Was it challenging?

Griffin: Because I never fit into the typical standup comedy format of one-liners and a typical set-up and punchline, I had to invent all kinds of alternative opportunities and venues to do my highly improvisational off-the-cuff style of standup that the good people who come to see me in the Upper Atlantic could enjoy. Every show on my #LikeABoss tour is different. I don’t have a perfectly written act or monologue that I have simply memorized and recite all over the country. I learned all those years ago at Hot Cup of Talk that for me it is more fun to not know quite what I am going to say until the minute I hit the stage. That is why I truly enjoy the challenge of playing all these different kinds of venues whether it is the ballroom at the Hampton Beach Casino or the State Theater in Portland, Maine or Carnegie Hall. In fact, I am playing all of these within three months.

EDGE: Pulp Fiction. You were in Pulp Fiction (I’m sure you know that…). It may have only been for a moment, but good grief is that awesome. You then followed that up with an appearance in Four Rooms. Vastly underappreciated, but equally awesome. How’d you hook up with Quentin Tarantino? Did he offer any pointers in regard on how you should react when Marcellus Wallace pulled out that gun?

Griffin: Let’s be clear, Pulp Fiction won the coveted Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival solely based on my performance on that film and Quentin Tarantino would never dispute that. We were dating-ish at the time. He offered me pointers on many of the things we did whenever we were together. One memory I really treasure is the night he called me at 2 in the morning when I was living in my $248 a month studio apartment in Santa Monica and read me word for word a scene he had just finished writing for Pulp Fiction.

EDGE: Your Wikipedia profile is one of the most detailed accounts on the site. It’s like a novel. A chronological diary basically recounting every literal step you’ve ever taken. Did you write that thing? Have you donated to the Wiki cause?

Griffin: You buried the lead. I get at least five tweets a day from my followers with a screenshot of my Wiki page because it says that “Kathy Griffin died February 17, 2007 at age 90.” I can’t bring myself to correct it because, darn it; it cracks me up every time. If you buy a ticket to any one of my shows on my #LikeABoss tour, you will witness a real modern day miracle as I promise to come back to life just for you.

EDGE: In that profile, I read the following line in regard to how you got hooked on pop culture: “It was fear of the dinner table that got me hooked.” That’s a great line. Do you think families still have conversations around the dinner table, or do they just more-or-less tweet to each other from the depths of the sofa?

Griffin: Sadly, you are correct. The twisted thing is it’s not just the kids just scrolling on their phones 24/7; it’s now mommy and daddy and grandma and grandpa. That is why I love live touring so much. After being told for years by Hollywood that television as we know it and live performing are going to all be given up for phone scrolling, I am a proud and living example that the live touring business has never been better. While it’s great to check out what’s happening on your phone or iPad, people are realizing that there is no way you can recreate the LIVE experience whether it is a concert or a comedian. There is an energy of the performer and of the live audience that still stands.

EDGE: Speaking of Twitter. You’re down with the tweets. Are you a birder?

Griffin: I prefer the term Twatter. I don’t know if you can print that. I enjoy the tweeting, the Instagram, and as my mother Maggie would say, the FacePlace. What I do not like is comedians apologizing via social media. That is something I do not do. When you are a comic, you are supposed to say things that are inappropriate, appalling, and funny. It’s way too easy to be taken out of context while limited to 140 characters. I primarily use my social media to keep people updated on where I am performing next, where they can see me on television, post an article, and, of course, silly pictures of my dogs.

EDGE: D-list status. Funny. What would the world be like without lists?

Griffin: Whether people admit it, Hollywood really does live and die by these stupid lists. I very much enjoy traveling between D and A and back again. And trust me, this can happen within a 24-hour period. I have an amazing backstage encounter with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett – A List! I am at an airport and someone says, “Aren’t you the lady from the thing?” – D List! I laugh all the way to the bank.

EDGE: Sleep. Again, I have your Wiki profile in mind. You never seem to stop. Do you sleep? Or have you adopted Cosmo Kramer’s 20-minute nap every few hours philosophy?

Griffin: I wish I could nap. I do tend to be most comfortable on a vampire schedule. I was twilight long before that chick wrote those books. PS…I will not be apologizing via Twitter because I used the term “chick.”

EDGE: Top five greatest gingers of all-time. Go.

Griffin: In no particular order: 1. Kathy Griffin

Then…Reba, Lucille Ball, Brody from Homeland, and my young doppelgänger, Bella Thorne. Comedian Kathy Griffin, known for the Bravo reality show My Life on the D-List and from her many stand-up specials that air on the BRAVO network (the most recent being Tired Hooker), comes to town Thursday, Jan. 5 for what will likely be a profanity-laden set filled with juicy Hollywood gossip, over-sharing anecdotes and merciless ridiculing of the various Kardashia. My full story on her appears in this Sunday's Gambit, but here's some bits from our conversation that didn't make it into the final story.

Have you spent time in New Orleans?

Yes, but not in a while. I love a beignet, and I'm prepared for my hair to start frizzing because of the humidity.

Do you have any funny stories from the last time you were here?

I just usually have some sort of stomach ailment because I overdo it with the delicious food. And I might accidentally hop into one of those old-timey funerals you see in every movie that's ever taken place in New Orleans. You might see me with a trombone, hopping onto an old-timey funeral.

You're really liberal and include politics in your act. I'm wondering if you're disenchanted by Barack Obama like a lot of liberals are.

I'm not disenchanted by Obama. I stand by him. I think he's very smart and he inherited an administration that was in the middle of many situations that I think a lot people would think are untenable. So no, I'm not one of those Democrats that's going to cut and bait. He's a very smart guy, he's doing a great job and the country was left in dire straits - I have a long memory. I don't see how anyone could think Obama created these problems. He's trying to solve these problems.

You wrote an essay for the Hollywood Reporter about the scrutiny women face in the entertainment industry when it comes to to age and physical appearance. You said that sometimes, being a comic "alleviate(s) some of the pressure to stay young." With comedians like Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler who have a kind of goofy hot-girl thing going on becoming so popular now, do you think female comics will end up facing the same kind of scrutiny actresses face?

I would say that as a comedian, we kind of benefit from not being held to that standard, but of course comedians like Chelsea and Whitney who are so pretty are always - I'm not going to say be held to a different standard, but it's part of their personality. It's a part of what they bring to the table. Same with Sarah Silverman, who is hilariously funny and inappropriate and also was on the cover of Maxim. So I don't know if we're ever going to see anything more than we've seen change for the whole gender, but I would say that by and large hopefully when a comedian's work is discussed, the way they look isn't the first thing on the list. That's definitely different than the males in my field. You have these great male comedians that are not lookers and no one says "Well this person isn't very attractive but they're very funny" - they just say they're funny. But with female comedians, especially certain girls like Whitney Cummings, they'll say "she's beautiful and funny or she's cute and funny."

What comedians are you into right now?

You know, I'm not a comedy snob. I really like all kinds of comedians. I always love the female comedians because I love that sense of humor. There's that old stigma about how women aren't funny, and that's just never been the case in my life. My mom and her friends and the women I grew up with and the women I hang out with are just so funny and make me laugh so hard. As far as comedians I'm into, I'm kind of into all of them. I definitely watch all the sitcoms and I watch stand-up specials. I can watch Katt Williams' special a million times.

I love all my contemporaries - Lisa Lampanelli, Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig. I met Melissa McCarthy last week. I love watching all these girls. They all crack me up.

© 2015 FOSTERS.COM (by Christopher Hislop )