Last night, Bravo debuted Kathy Griffin's weekly talk show, Kathy, and it was not the disaster that such shows' first episodes often are. At one point, Griffin referred to her platform as "Kathy starring Kathy with me, Kathy," except that kind of egocentrism was mostly left to play out in her head. The format is conversational, with about half of the hour-long show taken up by a pop-culture/current-event chat with Griffin's three producer-talking heads (including Gawker friend Michelle Collins, who shone). Griffin isn't as showboaty or funny-hoarding as you might expect; she moderates well, riffs to enhance and gives praise when it's due (check out the props she gives Collins in the clip above). Kathy's like Real Time for pop-culture addicts. The skits were funny, another roundtable with her P.A.'s was also great and she had a segment with her mother, for those who care about that dynamic.
Granted, there was a lot of Real Housewives talk (at one point Griffin apologized for hosting an "infomercial," since Bravo runs that franchise as well), and her opening stand-up about the Kardashians felt about as tired as her stand-up has been feeling in general. But that just goes to show the value in a change of format: as ringleader, Griffin's forced to rein it in, share space and subdue her obnoxiousness. It's a good look: I've never made it through an entire episode of Watch What Happens Live, but 60 minutes of Kathy was a pleasure.
She also sings her own theme song, which is god-awful initially but they play it so much that I found myself humming along by the end. (This is what it must have been like to be at the Paradise Garage the night Larry Levan debuted "Heartbeat" by playing it over and over again until the resistant crowd turned enthusiastic.) To perform this song, Griffin says she was assisted by a "fuckload of AutoTune." She sounds like Walmart.